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Fresh Food

Get to Know Your Stores’ ‘Superconsumers’

Tips to help grocers maximize the experience of a highly valuable type of shopper
Photograph: Shutterstock

How well do you know your customers? What are they searching for when they walk through the doors of your stores?

Until recently, these questions were easy for grocers to answer. Products needed to cook meals at home for their families and friends. And it was a set routine for most shoppers, whether weekly or several times a week. The mission involved purchasing the staples for that week’s meals or for stocking up at home. Today’s shoppers are not that predictable.

I used the word “mission” above to describe the shopping habits of those customers. But just as eating trends, ingredients and tastes change so, too, do the missions themselves. Not every customer has a shopping list of essentials for at-home meal prep. Rather, they’re methodically seeking specific products, ingredients and food attributes that satisfy the purpose of their mission, whether it’s taste, craving, lifestyle or other reason.

Defining a ‘Superconsumer’ 

So how does a retailer define this group of shoppers? IDDBA calls them “superconsumers” and defines them as shoppers who overindexes in volume, sales and profit. They also have passion about the products they purchase and consume. In any given category, they are about 10% of shoppers who drive between 30% and 70% of sales. And they have the characteristics retailers and manufacturers alike look for to build sales and customer loyalty. This includes:

  • They eagerly look for new products.
  • They happily pay for price premiums.
  • They shop the category frequently.
  • They have above-average category knowledge.
  • They are more open to marketing messages.
  • They can articulate and anticipate latent demand.

Let’s look at an example of how these shopper traits are put to action in the bakery, specifically when it comes to bagels. Almost 80 million households in the United States eat bagels. That’s 63% of households, a large percentage for a common product in our in-store bakeries. Needless to say, the demand for bagels is obvious. But do shoppers, especially those deemed as superconsumers, view your in-store bakeries as a destination for bagels? What can you do to make that happen?

Knowing the shopping habits of superconsumers, here are some ideas identified in IDDBA’s research report, The Superconsumer Opportunity in Dairy, Deli and Bakery:

  • Group buys. Provide options for bulk purchases in easy-to-carry packaging to connect with superconsumers looking to provide breakfast for a work or social event.
  • Snacking. Position bagels as a snacking option for on-the-run superconsumers looking for a fresh, quick and convenient meal.
  • Cafe ambiance. Create an atmosphere where superconsumers can enjoy a bagel or sandwich in a comfortable, clean and quiet spot.
  • Quality and authenticity. Given the competition retailers face from stand-alone bagel shops and bakeries, these bagel qualities must be on par with these businesses to retain loyal bagel shoppers.

As retailers, we can all agree that food-seeking consumers have more options today than they ever have. It’s a competitive space to be in, but supermarkets have the advantages to rise above the other players. And getting to know your stores’ superconsumers can help you achieve that. To learn how, read our superconsumer research here.

Mike Eardley is CEO and president of the Madison, Wis.-based International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA).

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