Retail consulting firm Brick Meets Click suggests that grocery retailers looking for ways to improve the in-store experience and drive traffic should “consciously” focus on building displays for Instagram. By making a food display “grammable,” grocers have an opportunity to be eye-catching, unique and sharable.
“Thinking this way positions the retailer to deliver special moments that create the kind of experiences people want to repeat (and share), and that means coming back to the store,” the firm wrote in a recent post.
Instagram continues to grow in both users and ad revenues. More than 800 monthly users and 500 million daily active users are on the platform. The site is expected to generate about $7 billion in ad revenue this year.
Food has always been the golden child of Instagram, and for good reason. Food is visual by nature, it is creative, diverse and colorful. Restaurants have leveraged this social media channel masterfully. Some experts have even stated that Instagram has changed the restaurant industrycompletely.
Interestingly, grocers haven’t been as proactive in this space, even though the same canvas – food – applies. There is a big opportunity here. According to a recent study from Retail Feedback Group, 90% of grocers have a social media presence, but just 25% of consumers say they’re engaged with their primary grocer in the space.
As grocers face increasing pressures from online ordering and delivery, sharing photos of appealing produce arrangements or beautifully prepared food just might be the inspiration consumers need to make an actual trip to the store. Or, at the very least, engage with the brand. According to a study from Locowise, about 75% of users take an action (such as visit a website) after seeing an Instagram post. It’s a good start to a potentially committed relationship.
A word of caution, however. If a grocery brand is interested in stepping up its Instagram game, it has to be done right to excite discerning millennials. If not, it could have far-reaching implications. Recent research from Zizzi, for example, found that 18 to 35 year olds spend five full days a year browsing food images on Instagram and one-third of them would avoid a restaurant if its Instagram presence was weak.
For grocers to successfully leverage Instagram, they should focus on posts that are engaging or interesting, in addition to the highly-effective, pretty food pictures. Whole Foods has been identified as one of the most engaging retailers on Instagram, according to Shopify. The brand mostly showcases its wide range of food offerings, along with occasional posts sharing recipes. A Retail Feedback Group survey showed that 59% of shoppers want grocers to share recipes on Instagram. Whole Foods’ Instagram account has 2.5 million followers. Conversely, Kroger, which has a footprint four times the size of Whole Foods, has 52,000 followers.
Grocers should also be aware of shoppers’ use of social media in their stores, and how it could benefit — or potentially damage — their image. Retailers know the importance of keeping their stores clean, their displays fresh and well-stocked. But in an age when one slip-up can go viral, this is vitally important. At the same time, grocers can inspire social media posts that serve as free marketing by those keeping store visuals in mind.
The number of U.S. businesses using Instagram is now at 71%, nearly double the amount that used the platform in 2016. Instagram’s growth – both in users and ad revenue – shows that the platform has proved itself to be a valuable tool for marketers. The stakes are high and growing for grocery brands to focus on “grammable” marketing strategies or risk being left behind.