Are you looking for a new way to engage your shoppers beyond coupons and loyalty programs? Many supermarkets are using events and classes to drive new business, provide a valuable service to the community and create customer loyalty.
Events provide a distinct way for your grocery store to advertise in the community and showcase your expertise with food or drink. While online ordering is a growing trend, it doesn’t replace the demand for in-person education or entertainment post-pandemic.
Your supermarket can host any number of events, including:
Healthy eating classes – Many people want to “eat healthy” but are overwhelmed by the volume of information, or misinformation, on the internet. Create an in-person educational event to teach guests the principles of healthy eating, the benefits of whole foods, ingredients to look out for in processed foods and tips for eating well on a budget. Tip: Be sure to educate about different dietary preferences such as gluten-free, vegan, paleo or low-carb diets and show guests where they can find these items in your store!
Cooking classes – Invite your supermarket chef, or hire an outside chef, to guide guests through preparing and cooking a signature meal. This is a great opportunity to expose guests to ingredients they may not be familiar with, a new food supplier, or seasonal produce they can implement in their home cooking right away. Some cooking class ideas include sushi rolling, pasta making, a French cooking tutorial, cake decorating and pastry baking.
Wine, beer and spirit tastings – Does your supermarket have an exceptional beer, wine and spirit selection? Capitalize on your robust offerings through a tasting event. Create a decorated sitting area and feature up to five craft beers, wines or spirits for an up-scale tasting event. Rotate the tasting based on seasons and pair with light charcuterie — meat, cheese, olives and crackers — from the deli. You can also use a tasting event to educate guests on food and alcohol pairings. Willows Market offers free craft beer and spirit tasting every Thursday to expose their customers to new brands.
Kids workshops – Toddlers and kids aren’t known for being adventurous eaters. To help bridge the gap and expose them to new food choices, host events or classes just for kids and their parents. During the pandemic, Kroger released “Adventure Kids Camp,” themed activities for food play, crafting, cooking and learning in the kitchen. Guiding kids through even one of these activities in-store would make for a very fun and engaging event.
Remember, not all classes have to involve food preparation. In one event, Pilgrim’s Market hosted a composting lesson for kids. The class even taught them how to create their own worm farm as a way to convert food scraps into nutrient-dense garden compost.
Private parties – Everyone loves a party, but not everybody loves cooking to feed party guests. Take inspiration from Fortinos and convert a part of your supermarket into a private party venue. Your kitchen prepares the cake and food, while guests simply show up and enjoy the private event. You could even offer decorating packages, or allow customers to supply their own.
To give you additional ideas, here are examples of classes and events that popular supermarkets are using to engage their customers.
Miscellaneous – Food brings people together, even if the event or occasion isn’t specific to food. Pilgrim’s Market is an inspiration that your supermarket can offer more than cooking classes. Pilgrim’s hosts five to ten events every month including film screenings and author visits.
Hosting events and classes is a long-term investment in your community. It spreads education, increases your brand’s affinity and invites new visitors to your store.
When it is safe to do so, how can your supermarket appeal to a new customer through events?
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