We’ve been contributing to Refresh for more than two years (woohoo!), and in that time we’ve had fun watching retailers become bloggers themselves. Jim Hiller, president of Hiller’s  in Detroit, muses at great length on the company website. Safeway’s blog  gets regular updates from “Kate”, a proud mom and worker with the company. There’s also Yoke’s Fresh Market  in Spokane, Wash., whose blog contributors include category managers like Ken Chapin, who heads up the meat department.
Well heads up, because another retailer joined the blogosphere last week, and it’s perhaps the most sophisticated one to date. AlbertsonsWellbeing.com  is the new health and wellness blog and online community from Albertsons. It includes a superhero-esque lineup of contributors covering a range of culinary and wellness topics. There’s Kyle Gorham, “The Foodie”; Laurie Raymundo, “The Busy Mom”; pharmacist Jeff Ward, “The Fit Doctor”; and several others.
Just in the first couple days, contributors have posted on dieting in the New Year, the importance of cleaning out your medicine cabinet, and why it’s important to eat healthy throughout the day.
The beauty of blogging is that you can reach a wider audience, stay on top of the latest issues, and all while having a little fun. Writing here, we can let loose a bit, moreso than we could in print for SN Whole Health or Supermarket News . And supermarkets, likewise, can show their customers their lighter side.
But the big question is, how do you drive traffic to the site? It’s fun to write about whatever pops into your head, but that’s not always what people are most interested in. I had a conversation a while back with Michelle Barry of the Hartman Group , and she made an observation that I think is right on: Make sure you’re doing what you do best. If you’re a supermarket operator, people are going to think of you first and foremost as a place to buy food. For medical advice, they’ll go to WebMD  or the Mayo Clinic . For recipes, they’ll go to the Food Network . But only through your supermarket can consumers learn what’s selling well in stores, what’s on sale, and anything else related to retail.
Offering coupons and giveaways is a great way to attract readers, Barry mentioned. And in that way, Albertsons is off to a good start. Customers perusing the new site can enter to win a $500 gift card. That’s enough to get me reading.
(Creative Commons photo courtesy of Arbron )