Q

Can you tell us how shoppers use social networking in ways that actually impact food shopping?

A

Coupons and price specials are only part of the story. The bigger news is that social media is changing the nature of relationships, and this influences the way people shop. Users seek trusted companions who offer information that has a beneficial impact on their lives. There are numerous ways this occurs. Shoppers can interact directly with the company through dialogues on Facebook or Twitter, for example. Or, by “friending” the business, reading tweets or reviewing Pinterest postings, they can learn about new products and services. A progressive store that provides recipes, menus and ideas about what to make for dinner tonight has more perceived value than one that does not. Posting information about how to cook or serve seasonal produce is a great way to meet shoppers’ needs. Social media also offers an opportunity to create sub-communities where users share a common interest. For example, parents of kids with peanut or gluten allergies can exchange recipes and information. By enabling these connections, the retailer provides added value.

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