Driving Positive Word of Mouth (the cheapest form of advertising)

My business partner always mentions that the 5 top reasons people shop at a grocery store are:


2-Clean and bright

3-Modern and up-to-date

4-Friendly employees, and

5-Well stocked


Not surprisingly, these attributes have not changed much over the years. Notice how many of them are:

A-in your direct control (2-5) and

B-do not cost a lot of money.

A couple of months ago I was part of a panel discussion at the National Grocers Alliance show in Las Vegas and spoke on the topic of re-engineering the Dairy department. During the ending question and answer period, I was asked what are the top couple of things I would advise other retailers to do to improve their dairy sales results. Many in the audience were probably expecting suggestions involving a capital investment, like new refrigerated cases. My answer was simple: start with the things that are in your control that don’t cost much money at all! Clean the department. Make sure you have no out-of-stocks. Have the top 20 dairy items in the category well merchandised. Train your employees to point out the positive traits of the new dairy item to customers. Etc.

 A recent study by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) shows that Word of Mouth (WOM), both offline and online, can be much more effective and certainly less costly than paid advertising. Think about it. What would make you try a new store more: a flashy ad or a recommendation from a friend? This landmark study by WOMMA finally puts some statistics behind the question-An offline WOM drives at least 5 times more sales than a paid advertising impression.

Nothing drives positive offline WOM more than a good shopping experience. And nothing produces a better shopping experience than first addressing the top five reasons why a customer shops your store. Once you have done that, then consider whether more expensive paid advertising is needed.


John Marklin



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