Grocery stores are good at one thing: selling food. But in 2018, this is no longer enough. With threats from the Amazon/Whole Foods juggernaut and Walmart’s recent partnership with Postmates, grocery stores must know make themselves destinations. How? By appealing to the hip, Instagrammin’ teens, duh.
Grocery strategy and consulting firm Brick Meets Click posted an article urging supermarkets to focus on making their store displays Instagrammable, so shoppers will share photos of mango pyramids and soda forts via social media. “Retailers can make their stores more engaging by consciously focusing on building some displays with an eye to how they ‘look and please’ through the lens of a smartphone,” the article says. “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.”
I stopped and thought about this. No, I have never Instagrammed a grocery store in my life. Why would I? “Here is a bundle of very nice bananas #grocery #livingmybestlife”! “Kale looking ON POINT today, @wholefoods”! “Tfw you find your fave granola on sale! #winning”!
Food-industry website FoodDive notes that while restaurants are slaying—as the kids say—in the Instagram space, grocery stores have lagged behind dramatically. According to the site’s analysis of data from Retail Feedback Group, 90 percent of supermarkets have social media presence, but only 25 percent of consumers follow their primary grocery store there. That feels about right. I still consider grocery shopping to be pretty low-tech; I write my shopping list in Google Keep, but other than that, I don’t expect much digital or social-media interaction at the supermarket. Honestly the last thing I want when I’m in the checkout line with two Halo Top ice creams, tampons, and a package of bacon is to share that “special moment.”
That consultants think supermarkets can solve their woes—which seem more closely tied to the rise of grocery delivery and younger generations’ declines in home cooking—with Instagram has a whiff of desperation about it. “How do we make young people want to grocery shop?” one suit-clad 50-year-old with a Nokia phone holster asks a room full of strategists with white boards. Two-hundred billable hours later, they’ve decided on: “Instagram.” Brick Meets Click cites the following as examples of ’gram-worthy displays that grocery stores should aspire to: a beet carved to look like a dark red rose, accenting a salad display; extensive olive oil bars; a large cheese wheel from Italy.
Okay, I’ll hand it to them on that last one. I might Instagram a giant wheel of cheese.