SALISBURY, N.C. — Shoppers who want to learn more about new kiosks near the front entrance of Food Lion stores can get in-depth answers by visiting the Food Lion YouTube channel.
That's because Food Lion uploaded a local news broadcast about the “MVP Savings Center” stations. The clip explains that shoppers who scan their MVP loyalty card before their shopping trip will receive personalized coupons.
“[YouTube] was a great way to demo this new technology,” said Steven Saunders, interactive marketing manager of Food Lion, Bloom and Bottom Dollar Food.
Now that Facebook and Twitter are commonplace, more food retailers are exploring YouTube to promote their programs and services. Along with Food Lion, Kroger Co. , Wegmans Food Markets , Harris Teete r, Lowes Food Stores and H.E. Butt Grocery Co.  are among the chains involved.
The MVP Savings Center clip is one of several videos Food Lion has posted since establishing its official YouTube Channel, www.youtube.com/foodlion , in June 2009. Subscribers to the channel have Food Lion's YouTube videos displayed on their personal YouTube account page as videos are added.
Food Lion uses YouTube because it is the most widely used video-sharing site and is the third most visited website on the Internet, behind Google and Facebook, said Saunders.
Through YouTube's comments and ratings system, Food Lion can connect with its customers though relevant content and two-way participation, said Saunders. Also, the viral nature of YouTube means videos can be viewed by a large number of people in a short amount of time. That's why Food Lion enables embedding of its videos and encourages viewers to rate and share them.
“We are able to build brand awareness, promote brand networking and drive overall impressions,” Saunders told SN.
Retailers are using YouTube in different ways.
H-E-B , San Antonio, leveraged it recently to feature the full-length version of its 2011 Super Bowl commercial.
In the commercial, Texas musician Jack Ingram performs the song, “Can't Spell Texas without H-E-B.” The commercial shows scenic images, as well as a Texas barbecue where guests enjoy a variety of H-E-B-brand food and beverages.
At Lowes Foods, Winston-Salem, N.C., many YouTube videos feature Terri Bennett, an eco-friendly personality it partnered with last year for a green-living initiative. For Valentine's Day, Bennett was shown discussing green Valentine's Day gifts, such as potted plants grown within 100 miles of the store.
Another retailer active on YouTube is Harris Teeter, which posts recipes, shopping tips and other information. One of its newest videos stars Beth Avery, its corporate nutritionist, explaining the good and bad kinds of fat.
Meanwhile, recipes are the primary focus of Wegmans' YouTube channel. One new video shows Wegmans executive chef Mark Makoveck in a Wegmans store shopping for ingredients to make Pan Seared Chicken with Peach & Chive Pan Gravy.
Wegmans corporate nutritionist Jennifer Felice is shown in another video talking about healthy food that has a bad rep.
Wegmans promoted its YouTube channel via a QR code printed in the winter edition of its Menu Magazine.
A growing number of retailers allow customers to upload their own videos. Kroger Co. is currently doing so as part of its “Cartbuster” savings event, a promotion featuring major discounts on select brand names. It asked shoppers to shoot a video that shares their latest Cartbuster bargains.
“Be sure to include what you bought, how much you saved, and your favorite Deal of the Day,” Kroger states in promotional materials.
In response, one shopper uploaded a video of herself shopping in a Kroger store for “Cartbuster” deals, including a 12-pack, double-roll of Charmin bath tissue for $5.99.
The final price was just $2.99 because she uploaded a $3 Charmin e-coupon from the Kroger website to her store card.