Iceland turns to social brand advocates

Iceland is making its biggest investment into social media as part of a strategy to move beyond price-led marketing and stand apart from rivals competing purely on price.

IcelandPic

The frozen food retailer claims that because consumers already know it offers value for money, it must turn its attention to using feedback and reviews to tailor offers to customer preferences.

As part of the strategy, Iceland is introducing GoRecommend, a social media tool that monitors customer recommendations made on channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

Steve Pennington, retail operations manager at Iceland, says the move marks the company’s biggest investment in social media to date and will focus on building brand advocates that promote the brand “virally”.

He adds: “We’re also using the GoRecommend feature from a product point of view. There’s an opportunity for customers to recommend what products they would like to see. It means that we can use that and work out whether we need to identify a new range of products that might include something we haven’t see before or can we target a particular product and put special offers on that and use that as a real marketing tool.”

The move is part of the “My Iceland” customer feedback initiative the retailer is rolling out across its 750 UK stores this summer. It captures data from shoppers in-store as well as the online delivery service and then feeds back to managers who will use it to implement “operational changes”. Insight gained from the initiative will be used develop new products as well as introduce new in-store promotions.

The company claims the programme, which has been developed in partnership with customer experience specialist Empathica, has generated in excess of 1,000 customer responses per day across its 750 stores since it launched.

Pennington says: “The thinking behind the new programme came from wanting our customers to feel that Iceland is at the heart of their community and that we welcome their feedback to help us improve. It’s about moving past static measures of performance to a more dynamic, fluid strategy that gauges how real customers interact with and perceive our business.”

He adds that service will play an important part in the company’s marketing strategy moving forward in order to attract new customers to the business.

Laura Ellis, trading operations manager at Iceland, says the scheme will give the retailer’s marketing better cut through at a time when other retailers are using price-led promotions to attract shoppers.

She adds: “All the supermarkets are slashing their prices to encourage shoppers to shop with them. We already offer excellent value for money, and want to show our customers that they can get great value and excellent service every day at Iceland – that’s our point of difference”.

Additionally, the supermarket is revamping its website to reflect its growing focus on using digital channels.

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