By now almost all of us know the benefits of shopping online. The last 2 years have especially shown us the advantages of online shopping. In many countries, online grocery shopping is as popular as shopping online for clothes, shoes, and electronics. In the day and age of a pandemic looming around us, online grocery stores have a lot of potential to grow into multimillion-dollar businesses, especially in a country like Germany where there aren’t any huge online grocery chains.
So, if you are planning to start an online grocery store in Germany, here is a treat for you. Read on to learn how to make your online grocery business a huge success through a powerful marketing strategy plan.
The Need for a Good Marketing Strategy for your Online Grocery Store
You might be wondering why you need a marketing strategy. There are numerous reasons why a business needs a good marketing plan. Here are the top 3 reasons:
- Helps to create attainable goals– Unless you have specific goals, you cannot plan your way to achieve them. Generalized goals like “I want to launch a successful online grocery store” won’t help you. Instead, a goal like “I want to grow a client base of 400 within the first year of launching my online grocery store” will help you to be successful. Additionally, keep in mind that you need to set up SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-framed.
- Helps to stay consistent– Consistency is key in marketing, and in having a successful business because Success doesn’t happen overnight. A good marketing plan helps you build on the momentum and stay consistent. The aim of a marketing plan is to ensure that all your marketing activities are relevant and timely to achieve organizational goals.
- Improves your focus- A plan helps you to keep your focus on the important tasks. Thus, a digital marketing plan will help you focus on exactly the tasks that will impact your success, instead of spending time on irrelevant activities. Moreover, do keep in mind that in a business, things will change, and your plan will change as well. But if you have a solid marketing plan, you will have a backbone for your tasks.
Now that you know why you need a marketing strategy, let’s dive into the 5 steps of Research and Analysis that you need to follow before you plan your marketing strategy.
Research and Analysis for your Online Grocery Store
No plan can start without researching the business. Unless you know what your brand is about, what you’re going to sell, or who you’re going to sell to, you’re going to have a hard time convincing people to use your service. Therefore, start with researching your competitors and audience, perform a SWOT analysis, and examine your customers’ buying habits.
Find out the key players and perform Competitive Analysis
The first step is to understand who your competitors are and how does the competitive landscape looks like in the online grocery industry in Germany.
Check the online grocery webpages on Google and look at the popular social media platforms in Germany and see which stores are popular. Additionally, subscribe to their newsletters and follow them on social media.
Through your research, aim to answer the following questions:
- Who are the competitors?
- What marketing strategies are they employing?
- How are they achieving their goals?
For example, in Germany, most of the online grocery stores sell Asian, especially Indian groceries. Some of the top stores are Jamoona, Spice Village, Get Grocery, etc. Other online food providers are rewe.de, amazonfresh.de, picnic.de, etc.
You can use Semrush for performing Competitive Analysis.
Performing a SWOT analysis is standard for any business or marketing plan. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It helps you to clearly define your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, which in turn helps you to develop goals and objectives. Moreover, a SWOT analysis also helps in understanding what differentiates you from your competition and how you should position yourself in the market. It also helps in deciding your unique selling point (USP).
Along with SWOT Analysis, go for a PEST Analysis. PEST analysis is a management tool, which helps assess the macro-environmental factors of a country, company, etc. It is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social, and Technological.
Create your Buyer’s Persona for Online Grocery Store
Creating a customer journey map is the best way to create buyer personas for any brand. It is a graphic representation of all the touchpoints that your brand has with a prospective customer.
Creating buyer personas helps you to understand:
- Who you are marketing to
- Where they spend time online
- And several other demographic traits
This in turn helps you to personalize your marketing materials and create relevant content for your prospective buyers.
A point to remember: To have a successful business,
“You aren’t trying to catch every fish in the sea. You’re only trying to catch the ones you want, the ones you are targeting because they have the strongest potential to turn into leads. Your net doesn’t need to be wide, it needs to be precise.”
Getting information about the lifestyle, demographics, interests, etc. of the audience will get you your target audience. For example, a buyer’s persona for an online grocery store could be people who have a very busy schedule.
Figure out the Buyers Buying Cycle for Online Grocery Store
According to HubSpot, there are 3 steps to a Buyers Buying Cycle:
Here you have a big responsibility in influencing your potential customer by providing relevant and valuable content for your service or offering a solution to their problems.
Determine the Budget
A marketing strategy cannot be executed unless you determine the budget. Determining the amount of money that your business can spend will in turn determine which goals can be handled first, whether specialists can be recruited and how far can the marketing plan go on.
Marketing Strategy for the Online Grocery Store
So now that we are done with the research and analysis, let’s move on to the marketing strategy for our plan.
Create your brand’s mission and vision statements
A mission statement is the pillar of your online grocery store. It characterizes your brand’s aim and is a great way to let your customers know why your brand exists.
A mission statement should:
- Say what the brand does
- Say how the brand does it
- Say why the brand does it
On the other hand, a vision statement offers a description of the brand’s long-term goals.
A mission statement and a vision statement always go hand in hand.
Tips for creating your brand’s mission and vision statements:
- Identify your brand’s core values
- Make the statements clear and concise
- They shouldn’t be longer than two sentences
- Use present tense while writing the statements
- Use words that can help you, your employees, and most importantly, your customers to vividly imagine what you are trying to say through the statements
Identify your short term and long-term goals for your online grocery store
The most important part of your marketing plan is your goals. Business and marketing should always go hand-in-hand. Your goals need to be challenging. But at the same time, you don’t want to set them too high and lose motivation when you’re unable to reach them. Thus, make them challenging yet attainable.
Here are some genius tips to keep in mind when identifying goals:
- Make sure that your goals are SMART.
- Set a mixture of short-term and long-term goals.
- Don’t overdo it. It is recommended that you set 2 main goals and 4-5 supporting goals
- Always tie your goals to your mission and vision
A quick tip: It’s okay if you don’t reach all your goals. It’s okay to fail, but it’s not okay to give up.
Here are a few examples of short term and long term goals for an online grocery store in Germany
Short term goals:
- I want 250 organic followers within 2 months of being active on Instagram
- I want 100 orders within 2 months of launching my online grocery store
- I want 150 subscribers to my email newsletter within 1 month.
Long term goals:
- Within one year, I want to gain 4000 followers on Instagram
- Within one year, I want 800 orders.
Define your online grocery store’s USP (unique selling point)
Along with setting your goals, it is critical to define your brand’s USP to stand out in the industry and create your own unique brand. Put simply, USP is what makes your online grocery store unique and beneficial to your target audience.
In order to define your USP, you can follow the steps below:
- Understand your target audience
- Check out industry trends
- Make a list of the characteristics of your business
- Make a list of the benefits of using your business or the
- Identify areas of your business that current competitors don’t offer
Thus, you need to focus on how your brand (exclusively) solves your customer’s problems, rather than focusing on what the brand is. And to do so, you need to use powerful marketing strategies that are centered around empathy and human connection.
Create a user friendly and optimized website
For an online grocery store, the website is its one and only platform. Therefore, it is central to creating a user-friendly, simple yet attractive, and highly functional website. It is your brand’s first impression. Thus, ensure that it is clutter-free and easy to navigate.
Below are some important tips to keep in mind:
- Use high-quality images
- Ensure that product description are correct
- Include customer reviews and ratings
- Keep the products segregated and have the filter option
- Make branding a priority
- Think like a website visitor
- Create a clear conversion path
- Ensure easy, hassle-free check out and payment
- Create a well-informed FAQ page
- Optimize the website for mobile use
Define your Digital Marketing channels
In today’s day and age of digital marketing, it is imperative that you define and choose the marketing channels that you want to use to promote your brand’s awareness.
A very powerful tool of the Digital Marketing Plan is the use of social media. Focus on 2-3 social media platforms instead of creating content on all the popular ones. For example, as an online grocery store, you don’t need to create content on LinkedIn. Rather you should focus on creating content mainly on Facebook and Instagram. Another tip is to be consistent with posting content regularly and engaging with followers. You can use automation tools like Heropost to schedule posts according to the timings that suit your country’s users the best. Moreover, engage with followers; reply to good, bad and neutral comments. Use interesting and trending hashtags along with all your posts and always link your brand’s website.
Email Marketing is another useful tool to attract customers. Through email marketing, you can inform your existing and prospective customers about new products, discounts, and any additional information about your store. Just like social media posts, the content, consistency, and timing of your emails matter a lot. Put great emphasis on creating creative, interesting, and informative emails. Keep the content precise, use images, add links to your website, have a catchy subject line, don’t forget to include a CTA (call to action), and most importantly, don’t overdo with sending excessive emails.
Paid media marketing
Paid marketing is one of the best ways to target qualified audiences for your online grocery store. Not only does paid marketing helps you to get the audience, but it also helps you to maximize your profit potential. Moreover, it also helps you to target returning customers.
It’s Content all the way
Earlier it was said, Content is King. But the latest addition to it is, Content is not the King, but the Kingdom. Your content will attract your potential customers; it is what Google will use to drive potential customers to your store. Some of the best ways to use content marketing for enhancing brand value is through:
- Social Media Posts
- Blog posts
- Your website landing page
Tip: Ensure that you create high-quality, creative content consistently.
Be innovative with your posts. Try out trending online challenges, do giveaways and try to engage your customers as much as you can with your content.
As an online grocery store, you can dedicate a section of the website for various recipes and link all the ingredients from your store.
You can also dedicate a day to social media, where you post easy and healthy recipes and link back all the ingredients to your website.
Ensure strong Branding
You believe it or not; a company largely depends on its branding. It is one of the strongest assets of a company. Therefore, make sure that your brand is consistently represented in online and offline media channels. Ensure that there is visual consistency in the brand’s logo, social media channels, website, business cards, packaging design, print marketing materials, online advertising posts, etc.
Implement SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and get found
By now you already know how important content creation is for your online grocery brand. But unless your content is optimized, all the efforts on content marketing go to waste. And here comes the importance of implementing SEO. If you want to rank high on Google and other search engines, you have to optimize your content accordingly because Google and other search engines use SEO to index your pages and allow your content to be found by potential customers.
So how do you improve your SEO?
- Do keyword research and create a list of keywords. You can use Answer the Public, Keyword Sheeter, Google Trends, etc.
- Optimize on-page SEO
- Have a link building strategy
- Have an optimized, easy-to-use website design. Make sure that the website is mobile-friendly
- Ensure that your website has a fast loading speed
SEO for online stores isn’t a piece of cake. You need to invest a lot of time to it to enhance your knowledge. You might fail in the beginning, but you must not give up. With experience and failures, you will be able to create a top-notch SEO strategy for your online store.
Measure, Analyse, Make changes
This phase of the marketing plan starts as soon as you put your marketing plan into action. It’s true that measuring and testing is tedious and an ongoing process; but you should look at its benefits. Through measuring and analyzing, you can improve your grocery store’s areas of weakness, document the quantitative results, and make necessary changes.
7 metrics for defining marketing strategy success are:
- Website traffic growth
- Visitor-to-lead conversion rate
- Sales-qualified leads generated
- Opportunities (or pipeline revenue) generated
- New customers generated
- Revenue generated
- Resulting profit
Tip: It’s a good practice to measure, analyze and make changes monthly.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought online grocery stores, a promising but formerly niche industry once again to the fore. So, if you want to start your online grocery store in Germany, you can use this marketing blueprint. I hope that these tips and tricks will help your business achieve success.
Food for thought:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln knew that preparation is everything. Whether you’re chopping down a tree or figuring out how to write a marketing plan, the steps you take ahead of time are crucial to your marketing success.
About the author
Anonya is a Digital Marketing Professional with an M.A and an MPhil in International Relations. She is a Digital Marketing Analyst at the International Institute of Digital Marketing. Originally from India, she currently lives in Germany with her husband. Anonya is passionate about food, music, and traveling. A dog lover and a plant mom, she tries to live sustainably and loves making DIY upcycling crafts.