Skip to main content

How to Capitalize on the Labor Day Surge: Q&A

According to August research from Worthington, Ohio-based data analytics firm Prosper Insights & Analytics, 90-day spending intentions on grocery items are flat. With Labor Day quickly approaching, this makes the last weekend of summer a must-win for grocers.

Like every other holiday, Labor Day comes with a great amount of competition vying for those consumer dollars. In fact, the most preferred retailer for summertime products is Walmart.

To win over shoppers, grocers must differentiate their marketing and sales tactics to gain an advantage. Curtis Tingle, CMO of Livonia, Mich.-based shopper marketing firm Valassis, shared his thoughts with us on how grocers can attract shoppers and drive sales over Labor Day.

Why is Labor Day important for grocers?

Labor Day is widely known for barbecues and picnics. In fact, Prosper Insights & Analytics research found this to be the most popular way consumers celebrated Labor Day in 2015. Nearly 34 percent spent the holiday this way. While discount retailers (namely Walmart) are generally the top destination for summertime shopping, when it comes to barbecues and picnics, grocery stores should have an advantage.

What steps can grocers take to cater to shopper preferences and remain competitive?

Labor Day can offer a rush of last-minute shoppers running to their nearest store for food and picnic essentials. In this scenario, both local and national grocers can set themselves apart by focusing on exceeding shoppers’ expectations for relevance, convenience and value. However, grocers can’t plan on last minute shoppers alone, so they should keep the following tips in mind to better understand shoppers and cater to their diverse needs:

  • Provide an assortment of products
    The No. 1 thing consumers are looking for is a brand they trust, with more than half citing this as the reason they buy particular summertime products. It is essential to offer an assortment of products and brands to meet customers’ diverse needs. Grocers should take the opportunity to cater to the “local flavors” of the neighborhood when presenting party solutions.
  • Deliver deals leading up to the summer holiday
    The No. 2 and No. 3 drivers of purchase are price and sales, respectively, with nearly 38 percent and 37 percent of shoppers citing price and sales, respectively, as why they buy certain items. With this in mind, grocers should strategize timing and distribution to pull customers in for “the best” deals in town on essentials like condiments, veggies, charcoal, beverages and burgers. Ensure offers are in consumers’ hands prior to the holiday so they can better plan their shopping.

What are some marketing strategies that grocers can employ to drive Labor Day sales?

Prosper data shows that there are over 21 million consumers who have no preference on where they shop for summertime products. This makes “winning the trip” essential for grocers.

The days leading up to Labor Day are crucial to be smart and reach their shoppers via an integrated multimedia campaign. To achieve this and ensure a successful holiday, grocers must develop a strategic marketing campaign that stimulates and maximizes the shopping experience. Key components should include:

  • Engaging shoppers through social media
    Twitter and Facebook are valuable platforms through which brands can promote deals to generate impulse purchases – in fact, 50 percent of social media users say they follow their favorite grocers online, according to San Diego-headquartered market research firm Interactions. Whether grocers use it to run a contest that encourages followers to engage with the brand in exchange for prizes, or post fun picnic/barbecue tips and recipes, social media is a great way to connect with shoppers on a personal level.
  • No more “discounting” the impact of coupons
    The “planners” will surely be savvy consumers preparing for Labor Day and constantly be looking for savings. With 77 percent of all consumers deciding where to shop based on where they can use paper coupons, it’s important to incorporate this form of advertising into marketing plans to lure valuable high-consumption shoppers.
  • Leveraging the store to drive the basket
    The No. 2 influence of grocery purchases is in-store advertising. Grocers must remember the basic blocking and tackling as they win the holiday with simple, timeless ideas. Group “like items” together (hamburger buns with condiments) and consider displays of cut fruit and vegetables on end caps and at the front of stores to encourage timely, impulse buying.
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds