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Unified emphasizes ROI in digital programs

Retailers need to evaluate ROI carefully when faced with a growing number of digital tools ranging from mobile apps to social media, said Grant Lunde, manager, digital marketing and shopper engagement, for cooperative wholesaler Unified Grocers.

Speaking on a digital engagement panel Tuesday at The NGA Show in Las Vegas, Lunde urged retailers to carefully consider expected outcomes from programs.

Unified’s Grant Lunde (center) is flanked by Karen Edenfield of Wayfield Foods and Marc Freed-Finnegan.
Unified’s Grant Lunde (center) is flanked by Karen Edenfield of Wayfield Foods and Marc Freed-Finnegan.

“Any time you implement any program, whether it’s for loyalty, social listening, beacons or anything else, it’s best to define what you expect to get,” he said. “How will it help you move the business? You need to define that beforehand. It may be a cool, shiny new object, but you need to see if it’s good for you and set metrics.”

Lunde discussed a Unified partnership with beacon provider inMarket. The program, started in July, is currently in use at about 100 store doors. It builds in-store customer engagement through mobile phones by delivering value-added CPG brand content to drive shopper purchase intent.


“We’ve seen good returns on it,” he said.

The Los Angeles-based company works with a wide range of retailers, from one-store operators to larger companies with relatively large technology and marketing staffs. The wholesaler’s message to retailers is to keep an open mind and a willingness to try things.

“Don’t be afraid of failure,” he said.

Marc Freed-Finnegan, co-founder and CEO, Index, emphasized that the grocery space lends itself to measurement and analysis.

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“Grocery is real scientific,” he said. “It’s a zero sum game. If you understand a customer, you can incentivize them to buy more at your store. You can measure and make the customer experience better.”

San Francisco-based Index is a technology provider that helps foster personalized customer interactions for retailers using credit or debit cards as primary identification for customers, he said.

Another speaker on the panel was Karen Edenfield, community outreach coordinator for Wayfield Foods, an Atlanta-area chain.

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