Groupons, Widgets and Social Networking: The Future of Natural Retail?


As the Internet expands and the world gets smaller, retailers are looking for creative new ways to market their products and lure shoppers into their stores. At the forefront of the latest methods for broadcasting local news of sales, promotions and deals is groupon.com, a Website operating in more than 40 cities nationwide. The site organizes daily deals with local merchants that are consummated once enough people sign up online. For example, on April 5 in Denver, 30 days of Jazzercise classes were offered for $29 (an $88 value) as long as 50 people signed up. The Website allows consumers to share news of the deal via Facebook and Twitter in order to gather tallies, and thus offers local businesses a cheap way of spreading word of their promotions. All manner of local businesses—restaurants, spas, car mechanics, amusement parks, psychics—have participated since the Groupon Website launched in 2008.

Harnessing similar social networking technology, Internet grocery retail platform MyWebGrocer recently developed and launched a Facebook widget that allows potential customers to shop online and to share information on prices and sales with other members of their social network. New Jersey-based grocer and MyWebGrocer client ShopRite has already uploaded the application to its Facebook page, tapping into the Website’s 400 million users to deliver product information and specials. MyWebGrocer represents more than 100 U.S. retailers, online advertising, retail apps and social media solutions nationwide.

NBJ Bottom Line

Social networking isn’t going away any time soon, and it could serve as an important networking tool for nutrition industry retailers—big and small. Online advertising tools such as MyWebGrocer’s widget and groupon.com could be profoundly useful resources for local and independent retailers of natural and nutrition products to spread news of forthcoming products and promotions. Local producers, especially those operating through farmers’ markets and co-ops, could especially benefit from energizing and rallying the community around their products through the use of social media.
Nutrition Business Journal’s 2010 Nutrition Industry Overview issue will include a deep dive into retail sales of all nutrition industry products. Order a copy of this double issue  or subscribe to NBJ via the NBJ Website.

Also, be sure to check out the 2010 natural retail market overview in Natural Foods Merchandiser’s June issue, which features market estimates and analysis from NBJ. To subscribe, visit the NFM subscription page.

Related NBJ links:

NBJ Special Internet Marketing & Sales Issue
E-marketing: A Recession Essential for Every Company
Progressive Methods Pay Off in Down Economy for Corr-Jensen Labs

Related Functional Ingredients link:

Small Biz Choose Social Network Marketing

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