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Family Dollar’s Matthew Martin defines value at Emerson Retail Industry Day

BY Antoinette Alexander

PHILADELPHIA — Is your emerging economy in your backyard? That’s a question that Matthew Martin, VP marketing at Family Dollar, posed to attendees of the Emerson Group Retail Industry Day as he described how Family Dollar defines value and what it is doing to better meet the needs of its core shopper.

“Many of you work for global organizations that are organizing around emerging economies around the world. What if your emerging economy is in your backyard? What if you don’t have to go to Africa and Asia and some of these other places?” Martin told attendees during his presentation titled, “Value = Quality ÷ Price: Building Loyalty — It Starts and Ends with Our Customers.” “Because I’m going to talk to you about a customer who ought to be on your radar screen.”
Enter the value shopper.

With a network of more than 8,000 stores in rural and urban settings across 46 states, Family Dollar strives to help families save on the items they need with everyday low prices and create a strong bond with it consumers.

Who is the core Family Dollar consumer? Here’s some stats:

  • 56% earn less than $40,000 per year;
  • 31% have children under the age of 18 years;
  • 50% are on some kind of government assistance;
  • 58% stick to brands and stores they can afford;
  • 25% live in multi-generational households; and
  • 66% of baskets are less than $10.

Despite these eye-opening stats, Martin urged attendees to remember that these shoppers are not simply statistics.
“They don’t believe that they are poor. They are some of the most hopeful people that I have ever met,” Martin said. “They want to feel valued, and they don’t necessarily always feel that way.”

He went on to share some ways in which Family Dollar is working to better communicate and meet the needs of the value shopper.

One such example is its recently expanded food assortment. As part of the new food rollout, TV personality and chef Pat Neely participated in several special events, such as a recipe challenge, to spread the word about the values customers can find in the store.

Another example is the company’s first vlogger event held last year to promote its ethnic hair care offering. The event proved successful with the company doubling the run rates on those items featured in the vlogger outreach.

Then there’s price. “Price has to be the right price, when she needs it and when she has the money, not when we want to do a promotion and what makes sense on our calendars,” Martin said. “So, our initiative you’ve seen from us about getting back to everyday low price is not necessarily a new idea across retail, we understand that. But everyday low price takes on a particularly different meaning for our customer, and we have to be right on that price every day.”

“Quality, experience and price. That’s how we define value,” Martin said.

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IRI’s Sanders dives into changing retail and healthcare landscape

BY Antoinette Alexander

PHILADELPHIA — With declines in household incomes, a growing trend toward self-care among consumers, a changing demographic landscape and a greater emphasis on digital, the retail environment is undergoing significant change, but that change is spelling opportunities for smaller companies, according to Bob Sanders, EVP healthcare practice leader at IRI.

“We think, as Steve Martin said, you can be so good that they can’t ignore you. … There have been a lot of companies that have proven that out, and I will tell you increasingly more retailers are listening to not the big guys only,” Sanders told attendees of the Emerson Group Retail Industry Day during his presentation titled, “The Data is Just the Beginning: How Syndicated Data Creates Fertile Ground for Fresh Insights.”

Taking a deeper dive into the changes currently underway and outlining factors that smaller brands should keep top of mind, Sanders discussed the opportunities that exist within the OTC segment given the rise in self-care among consumers. In fact, data shows that 34% of consumers are doing more to self-treat common conditions, and 24% are doing more to self-treat chronic conditions.

“Consumers are trying to take better care of themselves. … As a result, that manifests itself into buying products to prevent disease, to keep out of the doctor’s office. … People are doing more, which equates to greater household penetration, which equates to greater buying rate,” Sanders said.

The self-care trend is also helping fuel sales of food products with such attributes as lower sodium and lower carbohydrates as more consumers look to make lifestyle changes, Sanders noted.

Another factor to consider is the changing demographic landscape, driven by an aging population, millennials, minorities and low income. To better compete with the larger players who are looking for ways to expand their reach, Sanders said it is important for smaller companies to also think about targeting and segmentation.

“Do you see [segmentation and targeting] as an opportunity for your business?” Sanders asked attendees. “… Is it an opportunity for you guys to think differently about how you support your brands to really grow in the marketplace?”

Then there’s digital, which has greatly altered the path to purchase.

“The moment of truth is not at the shelf anymore. … There’s almost five times more paths that consumers can go via digital than traditional,” Sanders said.

Furthermore, the retail landscape continues to evolve as retailers, such as drug stores, increasingly implement in-store services.

“Drug retailers are smart. It’s a classic vertical integration play. They are going to surround that consumer/patient/shopper as much as they can, and if they can keep your attention and keep you in their stores, they are going to sell more stuff,” Sanders said. “So, how are you going to deal with the clinics? How are you going to market through an organization that is looking to do that?”

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Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk stresses marketing for today

BY Antoinette Alexander

PHILADELPHIA — Attention brand marketers: Market in the year that we actually live in. That was a key piece of advice that entrepreneur, author and CEO of VaynerMedia, Gary Vaynerchuk, had for attendees during his lively, no-holds-barred presentation at the 7th Annual Emerson Group Retail Industry Day.

“The amount of decisions being made in this room because of what you are personally comfortable with versus what is actually happening with your consumer makes me want to vomit on my face,” said Vaynerchuk, drawing laughter and a round of applause from the crowd, during his presentation dubbed, “On the Right Track but in the Wrong Race: How to Get Customers to Really Care About Your Brand.”

Vaynerchuk, a self-proclaimed non-techie, is an entrepreneur who has mastered the art of doing what works. Right now.

Vaynerchuk’s foray into business began at the tender age of 8 years old, managing seven lemonade stands across his neighborhood in Edison, N.J. When he turned 12, he started selling baseball cards at the local mall on weekends, selling $2,000 to $4,000 cards each weekend. In high school, he joined the family business, a liquor store called Shoppers Discount Liquors that his dad started, and it wasn’t long before he became obsessed with collecting wine.

He went on to launch WineLibrary.com, one of the very first wine sales sites. As soon as Google Adwords came out, he became the first — and, for some time, the only — person to advertise against people searching for “wine.”

In the spring of 2009, Vaynerchuk and his brother launched VaynerMedia, a strategic creative agency focusing on social and digital.

Over the years, he has also invested in companies like Twitter, Tumblr, Uber and Birchbox.

“What connects us is very simple. I’m not a techie. … The only reason that I have the luxury of standing in front of you and you are giving me your attention is very simple, … the one little thing I’ve got is that I market in the year that we actually live in,” Vaynerchuk told attendees.

“We are living in a world today, in 2015, where whoever can story tell to the end consumer best wins, whether you are the producer, whether you are a retailer, whether you are a media company,” Vaynerchuk said. “There’s a reason why Birchbox can go in four years from zero to $300 million in sales because they are marketing in the year that we live in, and they are playing the arbitrages that matter.”

During his presentation, Vaynerchuk shared what he believes are today’s most powerful tools — Twitter.com/search and Facebook — more specifically, Facebook “dark posts”.

“We need to start building brands, and the way we start building brands is by actually building relationships with the consumer,” said Vaynerchuk. “… Even though Facebook will sell more stuff for you, I am deeming Twitter.com/search the most important. Do you know why? Because every one of you can go on that web site, type in your brand’s name and see what everybody says about it. Consumer insight data that we’ve never seen at scale, and it’s free.”

Vaynerchuk also stressed the importance of Facebook “dark posts” or unpublished posts. This functionality allows page owners to share their messages with audiences without reaching their page audience organically through newsfeed distribution or timeline. These page posts are only distributed to users through promoted channels.

“We are lucky enough to right now be living through the second industrial revolution, that’s what we are living through,” Vaynerchuk said.
 

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