A short Supermarket News article recently caught my eye concerning a new interactive initiative undertaken by Price Chopper, a Schenectady New York-based grocery chain. "Price Chopper Adds Interactive Recipes to Website." At first blush, it doesn't look like a big deal... but read on.

"Working with Webstop, Tarpon Springs, Fla., Price Chopper is offering hundreds of exclusive recipes on its website; the recipes can be added to personalized shopping lists, emailed to friends, or added to a personalized cookbook." So, what else is new?
How about this: there's also a "Feed Your Family for Less" recipe collection to assist time and cash-strapped customers plan a weekly menu that nets down to less than $5.00 per serving. Better yet, recipe ingredients can interact directly with an online circular so that customers can see what's on sale.
According to the article, it gets even better. "The online circular allows shoppers to browse and search, change font sizes, add products to shopping lists, and click directly to a recipe that uses sale items."
This kind of smart marketing presents real service to Price Chopper's customers. Helping them save time and money really resonates with consumers. And showing them how they can do it is worth much more. Especially these days when soaring grocery bills are a major concern for many families.
At a time when customers are being incessantly wooed by retailers of every stripe, including grocery chains, by low prices–no–the lowest prices–at every turn, it's refreshing to see a different approach.
Are consumers more likely to remember which grocery store in their area had the lowest prices last week on some of the staples they use? Are consumers going to remember the price comparisons from various store circulars when every one of them touts the "lowest prices" week after week?
Or are consumers more likely to remember the grocery store that offers them this kind of service? I'm betting on the latter. Here's a resource that enables the customer to download family recipes, save money on some recipe ingredients and make nutritious meals for less than $5.00 per serving. Or, consumers can check out what's on sale and find recipes that include those ingredients.
The highly interactive nature of Price Chopper's initiative might give other companies ideas on how to better engage and retain their customers. Isn't this a great way to build brand loyalty?
What kinds of interactive programs have you personally engaged with that made life easier for you?
Did it make you more loyal to those companies or brands that offered great web site services?
Which companies or brands do a good job engaging customers on their web sites?
I'd love to hear from you.

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image of Ted Mininni

Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni