This summer, as part of a virtual marketing campaign, online grocer Peapod is appearing at unexpected local venues like ballparks, concert venues, recreation centers and coffee shops in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Chicago.
Last fall, in a similar move, the Ahold USA-owned e-retailer rolled out more than 100 virtual grocery stores at commuter rail stations in Chicago and along the East Coast.
Peapod’s virtual store technology – the first of its kind in the United States, according to the Skokie, Ill.-based company -- features physical or digital billboards of larger-than-life grocery aisles placed in the locations mentioned above as well as on a high-tech branded truck traveling around each market through summer’s end. The campaign aims to spur smartphone users to scan the included QR code to download the free PeapodMobile app, enabling them to shop on the go while enjoying what their respective communities have to offer.
“We all know how challenging it can be to get the attention of consumers in a meaningful way,” noted Peapod COO Mike Brennan. “When we piloted the virtual stores last fall, we found that the advertising stopped people -- it engaged them, and we saw mobile app downloads as a result. This go-round, we’re exploring new, hyper-local platforms to communicate our convenience message of ‘Shop Anywhere, Anytime with Peapod.’”
The Peapod truck is making stops at the cities’ ballparks, Café Benvenuto in midtown Manhattan, and at Bon Jovi, One Direction and Justin Timberlake concerts in Chicago, in addition to hot tourist attractions and major thoroughfares.
Additionally, the online grocer has joined forces with such well-known consumer products goods brands as Barilla, Coca-Cola, Kimberly Clark, Procter & Gamble, and Reckitt Benckiser to populate its virtual store ads. Once on the PeapodMobile app, customers can access more than 11,000 popular and store-brand products across all supermarket departments. A range of beer, wine and beverages is also available in some markets.
As well as the virtual store outposts, Peapod is deploying highly visual guerrilla marketing tactics to reel in consumers, including a “human billboard” campaign that will distribute 10,000 t-shirts via radio partnerships, and a Peapod “cart car” – a 2014 Chevy Spark done up as a shopping cart, complete with elevated handlebars – to drive around downtown Chicago.