Giant Eagle uses personalized marketing to make the lives of their customers just a little bit easier

An interview with Giant Eagle’s Director of Marketing, Lindsay Meucci.

Interview by Symphony RetailAI’s Paul Hoffman. Lindsay Meucci discussed personalized marketing best practices to drive sales and CPG engagement at Xcelerate Retail Forum 2019.

What’s the biggest challenge in personalizing marketing with your customers today?

Our ongoing challenge is to determine the best ways to break through the clutter of marketing that consumers experience every day, and to do so in a way that positions Giant Eagle as the best solution for quality, variety and value. There are so many different channels in which customers interact with us today ― traditional direct mail, email, mobile apps and digital ads. Understanding the right mix of channels that maximizes your efforts to engage different customer groups is more important than ever.

Additionally, it is critical that we successfully collaborate with our CPG partners to invest and grow their business. It’s a priority for us to show the results and benefits of targeted marketing and personalized marketing programs. These programs can really drive sales and build relationships with customers and grow households in a different way than some of the mass promotions that we’ve run together in the past.

How do you engage new customers, retain current customers and grow?

We’ve operated in our markets for a really long time and have great market reach with how many stores we have in our marketplace, but there’s always opportunity to add new customers and especially younger demographics. We’re using a lot more of our digital marketing space to do that. Telling the story of our brand and why customers should shop at Giant Eagle. All the ways that we try to make their lives easier when it comes to meal planning and shopping. We have great recipes and we have great food in the store, and you can come to us for everything you need from a service standpoint – a pharmacy team that works with each customer’s unique needs, high-quality dry cleaning services and great prepared meals.

These longstanding services are complemented with new offerings, including our Curbside Express online grocery ordering program. Customers are now able to order all of their groceries online and choose to either pick them up or have them delivered to their doorstep. So, we’re trying to make sure that we’re making our customer’s day easier, no matter where they are and how they prefer to shop.

It’s even more important to retain your current customers. I think everyone knows how much more expensive it is to acquire a new customer. We’ve done the math with our data to understand how many occasional or infrequent customers really add up to one engaged customer. So, for Giant Eagle, it’s about focusing on what’s important to our most loyal customers, understanding how they are shopping and maybe how they’re even migrating throughout our different segments, and making sure that we’re providing them with the right offers and the right content to ensure that Giant Eagle continues to be the place that meets and exceeds their needs.

What technologies have been helping you in your work to develop a personalized marketing strategy and to execute on it?

It’s really about understanding our customer data and using it in ways that improve the overall shopping experience. We are fortunate that the vast majority of our customers scan our loyalty card when checking out.

We use Symphony RetailAI Personalized Marketing to help us create and manage all of our offer banks, as well as execute our targeted marketing campaigns. Our merchandising team and our CPG partners are also leveraging the Symphony RetailAI’s customer insights to understand the data and generate some insights for us to go and help them create programs. Then, from a more tactical or customer facing standpoint, again, there are so many channels. So, we really put emphasis on to developing our mobile app. People have their phones with them all the time. We try to make our app simple. We want customers to be able to find recipes. We want them to add the ingredients from those recipes to their cart. We want them to be able to order and use coupons all via the mobile app and really just make that shopping experience more natural for them.

When working on your marketing strategy how do you go about testing and learning?

We’re always looking at how can we improve past campaign results. We’re working with our account director at Symphony RetailAI to look at responder scores. For example, if customers didn’t naturally qualify for a campaign based on our offer bank and our offer strategy, but we know that they respond to coupons or we know that they respond to mass promotions in the circular we are testing adding them to see if the campaign is of value to them based on their usage of the offers. We want to make sure things are really personalized. We’d typically have themed or seasonal mailer with one version of creative that goes to all who receive it. But now, we split things up into different versions. Perhaps one is a premium version and the other a value version. Do the customers who fall more to those sides of the fence react better to one large book with a large amount of offers? Or do they react better when they have something a little bit more geared towards their shopping behavior? We want to make sure that we’re always performing better, not only for ourselves, but also for our CPG partners who are investing in our programs. We want to make sure that we’re always driving results for them as well.

Please tell our readers something personal about yourself.

I don’t have anything too crazy to report, but I have a two-and-a-half-year-old son. He’s the one thing that keeps me on my toes right now and takes most of my time after work. It is so much fun to watch him learn and grow, and it’s also interesting, as a mom, watching how retailers market to me!