Relationships start with a connection. How do you build that bond with shoppers? Social media may seem like the obvious answer — after all, not only do shoppers use their digital devices to research items and track prices, but they share thoughts and recipes with friends over these vast networks.

While many consumers use social media in their daily lives, it turns out that delving into their digital devices to find out more about fresh produce is not top-of-mind for most shoppers. In fact, 82% of respondents to Fresh Trends 2019 said they had never interacted with a supermarket on social media. Produce marketers may need to get creative to tap into this less-embraced side of marketing for fresh foods. 

Making a connection

Give shoppers a reason to connect

While consumers are often happy to connect to friends and family via social media platforms, they’re more hesitant about extending the same degree of welcome to marketers. Only 25% of shoppers said “yes” when asked “Are you ‘friends’ with or do you ‘follow’ (or otherwise socially connect to) a supermarket via social media?” in Fresh Trends 2019.

And while consumers seem eager for feedback on major life events or everyday happenings on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, 65% of respondents said they would not change their shopping behavior—like trying a new type of fruit/vegetable or recipe—based on recommendations from their social network. (About a third — 35% — said they would make a change based on friends’ endorsements.)

Interestingly, 42% of shoppers said they did not use social media for grocery shopping purposes. Of those that did use social media, 29% said they used Facebook and 22% said they used YouTube as a tool for supermarket shopping. Those two social media platforms were also the top ones that consumers said were their “favorite” outlets when asked about social media in general.

This hesitancy on the part of consumers to embrace social media for grocery shopping offers huge opportunities for produce marketers, who can encourage consumers to link up with them. 

More than half of those surveyed (57%) said they would interact with a supermarket via social media regarding fresh produce if they were offered a coupon or product discount. Sixteen percent of buyers said they would link up with their supermarket digitally if it offered recipes, and 13% said they would use social media to find out about an event or promotion at their store.

Marketers can take advantage of promoting products through apps and phone-friendly sites. Of those surveyed in Fresh Trends 2019, 59% of respondents said that they research prices and products like fresh produce using their smartphones. More than a third (36%) said they sat down at a desktop computer to examine prices and learn about fresh produce items, while 19% said they used “other” methods, likely newspaper or TV ads.


Target certain demographic groups

Shoppers in the youngest age group (age 18-39) were among the least likely overall to buy fresh produce, according to Fresh Trends 2019, yet this group is among the most likely to use social media in all aspects of their lives. Marketers can use this to their advantage.

Forty percent of shoppers this year said they would subscribe to an app that taught them how to better use/prepare fresh produce. Marketers who offer this element put themselves in a better position to build customer loyalty with digital shoppers.
Of those consumers who said they had interacted with their store, 46% said they had commented on or shared a photo, and 38% said they had commented on or shared a sale or promotion with others. Asking shoppers to send in their own photos or share a sale with their friends and family not only brings the potential for increased sales, but it also spreads your name out among the digital crowds. 

Thirty-seven percent of respondents to the survey said they had entered a contest held by their supermarket via social media. One-fifth of shoppers said they sought an answer to a question via social media, and 8% said they voiced a complaint.

Whether today’s consumers are suffering from information overload and don’t want to add one more program to their device, or whether they lack the time to watch and/or learn about preparing fresh produce is unclear. What is clear, though, is that marketers will need to get creative to drive interest in social media connections or offer incentives to social media connections that consumers will find hard to turn down.


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