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Schnucks Uses Digital Storytelling to Better Inform Beer, Wine Shoppers

Partnership with Looma will connect consumers to people and stories behind products
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer

Every bottle tells a story, and retail tech startup Looma is making sure that in-store Schnucks shoppers get the 411 before making their purchasing decisions. Looma has partnered with Schnuck Markets Inc. to bring an at-shelf digital storytelling platform to beer and wine departments at 89 Schnucks stores. Known as Loop, the program introduces shoppers to the real people who craft the products via short, human-centric videos playing on smart tablets.

"Shoppers increasingly want to make educated and informed decisions," said Julie Dean, Schnucks category manager — beverage alcohol. "Looma allows us to create a stronger connection between shoppers and the brands they love while simultaneously introducing them to new ones."

A new ChaseDesign survey showed that consumers are opting for brick and mortar for their alcohol purchases. The survey found that almost 90% of all beer, wine and spirits purchases last year were made in-store, despite a pandemic-era uptick in home deliveries and store pickups. Furthermore, more than half — 53%  of survey respondents said that they enjoy browsing for beverages in person, and 42% reported that they like to physically pick up products to read labels and learn more about the items. In-store digital technologies with the potential to improve the learning experience may prove vital for the future of beer, wine and spirits shopping.

"The best retailers are doubling down on in-store experience," said Cole Johnson, CEO and founder of Durham, N.C.-based Looma. "Digitization alone isn't enough, though. It has to be about discovery, education, immersion — connecting shoppers to the people and places and stories behind their products."

Looma has a growing presence in retailers, extending to more than 350 stores across seven states. The company’s people-first storytelling approach and proprietary point-of-decision optimization model aim to make content both more authentic and more helpful to shoppers seeking transparency in their purchases. 

According to Looma, brands see an average of 92% sales growth when featured on Loop, followed by 25% the following month. When the solution is installed on an end cap, the end cap sells 51% more product, while 30% of shoppers trying a Loop-featured product are trying it for the first time. 

"At Schnucks, we are hyper-focused on creating unique, tailored customer experiences. It's all about nourishing the lives of our customers by enabling enriched, informed shopping experiences," said Tom Henry, chief data officer and deputy CIO at the grocer. "Deploying Looma digital technologies within our stores has enabled our customers to make product selections with increased knowledge and confidence."

The storytelling partnership with Looma, the first of its kind for Schnucks, comes at an ideal time for the retailer as it promotes its alcohol offerings with the recent launch of Schnucks Wine Club, available to all Schnucks Rewards members, who receive a 15% discount off the lowest price on every 750-milliliter bottle of wine purchased at Schnucks stores every day of the week. 

St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets Inc. operates more than 100 stores in four states and employs more than 13,000 associates. The company is No. 64 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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