Winning customers over with the pet aisle.

cat-and-dog-happy-squareFor decades, grocery retailers have only offered a handful of pet products, if any at all. Only the most popular and mainstream brands such as Ralston Purina and Meow Mix® made the cut. Now we’re seeing Rachael Ray™ Nutrish®, Blue Buffalo®, and Freshpet® taking over the aisle. What’s really going on behind the shift?

Ownership trends.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), pet ownership fell 6.4 percent in total number of dogs and cats from 2007 to 2012. However, we’ve all witnessed the emergence of pet services, from mobile grooming to pet funerals, as well as the explosion of gourmet and holistic food brands.

In a recent article for Grocery Headquarters, Seth Mendelson explains that consumers “are treating these animals as part of their families. That means a burning desire to give their pets the best of everything, all designed to make them more healthy and happy.” He goes on to state that owners are “only too eager to pay more for products that they perceive as better for their animals.”

This eagerness is reflected in statistics compiled by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). According to their U.S. Pet Industry Spending Figures & Future Outlook, total pet expenditures rose from $41.2 billion in 2007 to $53.33 billion in 2012*, the same period in which pet ownership fell.

What does this mean for the grocery retailer?

Given that more and more specialty brands have entered the market and pet owners seem willing to pay a premium for the best (even as ownership has slightly declined), we’d expect to see an expansion in the grocery retail pet aisle across the board. Not necessarily so.

Some industry experts fear that in the quest for manufacturers to build a better mousetrap, retailers are inundated with too much duplication in the market. How many different brands of dog leashes or pet bowls can an aisle support?

Now factor in online sales growth. Petfood Industry states that online sales of dog and cat food in the U.S. rose 15 percent in 2016, totaling $1 billion.

Both of these trends are causing some grocery retailers to rethink the pet aisle; while some are embracing the growth, others are scaling back and minimizing selections.

How in-store promotion can play a role.

Whichever camp your store falls into, shelf-edge marketing can help boost your pet aisle sales. Tags and signs from Bacompt can provide descriptive product information on the benefits of specialty items, while also encouraging impulse buying from shoppers who otherwise might purchase online (possibly converting them to loyal shoppers).

Contact us to learn how we can help increase your pet aisle profits.

P.S. The AVMA National Pet Week is May 7 – 13.

*Food and supplies account for approximately two-thirds of total expenditures, while vet care, animal purchases, and grooming/boarding services account for the remaining third.


Larry Bauer on vertical marketing and the benefits to our clients.

LarryBauerWebImageOur own Larry Bauer, Chief Strategy Officer, spoke at a recent webinar on vertical marketing sponsored by thINK, an independent community of Canon Solutions America’s production print customers, solution partners, and print industry experts.

While the common wisdom is that vertical marketing increases production efficiencies for suppliers like us who employ the tactic, it may be a surprise to learn that vertical marketing offers significant benefits to our clients as well.

“Vertical marketing begins by establishing target client segments based on similarities in print needs and buying preferences,” describes Larry. “This concentration on providing services to a particular industry, such as grocery, brings about better resource deployment, resulting in economies we then pass along to our clients.

“In addition, this vertical focus can provide a road map to developing new, proprietary technologies specific to our target segments, as well as guide us in the procurement of suitable state-of-the-art equipment,” says Larry.

A few of Bacompt’s grocery-specific technologies:

  • Proprietary die cutting and laminating processes
  • Kitting and fulfillment
  • Specialty adhesives for high moisture or freezing temps
  • Easy-lift edge
  • Horseshoe cut
  • Cloud-based in-store publishing
  • Third-party marketing programs for nutrition, wine, and sustainability

Rounding out our robust portfolio of digital presses, Bacompt recently installed the revolutionary Océ VarioPrint i300 color digital press, giving us the ability to print up to 294 letter images per minute (or more than 8,500 duplex letter sheets per hour).

“You can’t be all things to all people,” explains Larry. “But by taking a vertical marketing approach, each client benefits from everything we learn cumulatively from the entire segment. We’d like to think that our deep knowledge of grocery and other retail also paves the way to a better customer experience because we can promise personal interaction with any member of the team, from sales to data programming.”

If you’d like to expand your shelf-edge program, give Larry a shout.

About Larry Bauer.

A member of the Bacompt team for over six years, Larry brings to the table a well-developed skill set in critical, difference-making areas that include business strategy, market identification, sales management, and marketing communications. Prior to his role with Bacompt, Larry headed Bauer Associates, a Chicago-based marketing and sales consultancy, for 22 years.

 Larry earned a bachelor’s degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and attended graduate school at Kent State University where he studied communications. He is the recipient of more than 20 marketing awards and honors and is a three-time winner of the Peter Drucker Marketing Excellence Award from Printing Industries of America.


It’s your data. What are your suppliers’ protocols for handling it?

In a world of cyber attacks and personal identity threats, it’s better to be well informed of your entire chain of security protocols — including that of your suppliers. At Bacompt, we treat your data as securely as we treat our own.

Physical security includes:

  • After-hours alarm keypad
  • 24/7 video surveillance
  • Onsite sensitive document shredding
  • Entry protocols:
    • Visitors sign in and name badges
    • Key fob access on all locations
  • Workstation:
    • Clean desk, lock-up for all sensitive materials
    • Clear screen protocols, computer log-off and lock

Network security includes:

  • Secure data transfer (SSL/SFTP)
  • Scheduled password changes
  • Up-to-date antivirus software

Our comprehensive disaster recovery program includes:  

  1. Redundancy — Two Indiana locations with like printing and processing equipment and inventory. Both locations share a real-time, cloud-based print network for file determination and sharing.
  1. Communications — Main communication lines are 50 MB fiber optic cables installed at both locations. Identical equipment at each facility capable of transferring data files.
  1. Processing — Data processing is currently done on multiple servers that operate as backups. In the event a disaster should destroy all of these servers, our off-site recovery facility in Indianapolis, IN has multiple servers for use while we re-establish our main facility.
  1. Printing — At our main production facility, we have several high-speed printers that are able to work in tandem; i.e., pick-up where the other leaves off. To maximize production, we have on-site full-time maintenance (continuous preventive maintenance). In case of a disaster to the main production facility, a variety of equipment and inventory are available at our sister site for immediate use.
  1. Finishing equipment and supplies — At our main facility, we have multiple pieces of finishing equipment that are able to work in tandem; i.e., pick-up where the other leaves off. Supplies are standard off-the-shelf products. Our sister site also has this equipment. Each of our primary vendors guarantees us a 30-day supply of stock, on hold and ready for immediate delivery.
  1. Distribution — Within a 500-mile radius of Indianapolis, IN, jobs will be delivered by our own salaried personnel in Bacompt-owned vehicles. We have multiple backup delivery resources, including an exclusive arrangement with FedEx. If there is a weather emergency that prohibits ground delivery, we will airfreight jobs to the destination. For deliveries outside the 500-mile radius, we use next-day or second-day FedEx.
  1. Data storage — Bacompt currently keeps all data files on the network for six months, unless otherwise requested. Network systems and critical programs are backed up daily on a cloud-based site.
  1. Product inventory — Bacompt typically maintains a three-month supply of products for use in customer production and fulfillment. A one-month supply is stored at our sister site. Each of our suppliers also guarantees ready-to-ship, pre-positioned inventory for any emergency or spike in volume.
  1. Insurance — Insurance certificate provided upon request.

Bacompt stands behind our clients not only in terms of on-time and accurate delivery, but also in terms of data security and protection. Give us a call to learn more.


Attention marketers: neuroscience favors print over digital.

While we may never go back to an all ink-on-paper world, neuroscience research indicates that print still retains a strong foothold among consumers.

Separate studies conducted by Temple University and Bangor University using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have shown that physical marketing pieces generate higher levels of engagement, stimulation, and memory recall. In addition, paper advertising more successfully activates an area of the brain, the ventral striatum, that controls desire and valuation.

In the Forbes article “Paper Beats Digital In Many Ways, According To Neuroscience,” Roger Dooley states that “physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations,” and that print “produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater ‘internalization’ of the ads.”

The findings appear to support preference for the printed word in long-form text as well — even among digital natives.

The Washington Post article “Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right” explains the bias this way: “Readers tend to skim on screens, distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers.” The same article goes on to describe “‘jaw-dropping’ results to the question of whether students were more likely to multitask in hard copy (1 percent) vs. reading on-screen (90 percent).”

The upshot? “Rather than an all-digital world, it appears that a multi-channel approach that leverages the unique benefits of paper with the convenience and accessibility of digital will perform best,” suggests Dooley.

We couldn’t agree more.


The circular conundrum. #IPD16

The decline in readership of the printed newspaper has also meant the decline in newspaper advertising, including the circular or free-standing insert. However, circulars still account for approximately 20 percent of newspaper advertising revenue, according to an article posted in The Wall Street Journal. And while retailers have been testing alternative means of reaching consumers, circulars still land in about 50 million homes per year.

The WSJ article goes on to state, “The problem is digital alternatives have failed to lure as many customers into stores as the weekly deluge of paper coupons… Fewer than 1% of people who read newspapers online end up clicking through to digital circulars embedded in the website… By contrast, around 80% of people who read a print newspaper look at the circulars inside.”

In fact, one major retailer restored its circular buy when digital advertising resulted in a decrease of traffic.

Print advertising, including the circular, is still a valuable medium. And some retailers are creatively making the circular work harder for them by targeting consumers by zip code cross referenced with data that determines each shopper’s status as either loyal, under-engaged, or new — data typically mined from loyalty club cards retailers have been using for years.

This level of personalized messaging can provide the relevance that today’s shoppers demand and is most effective when combined with other media such as broadcast, social, and digital. But don’t overlook the power of your in-store message to tie-in with your circular promotions and, therefore, connect with your customers.

Bacompt can provide store-location-specific tags and signs that draw shoppers to the specials promoted in your weekly circulars. More than simply offering value, we can bring the right offers to your customers using targeted data.

Contact us today to learn how you can up your game with in-store targeting.



Restaurant spending surpasses grocery spending — what grocers should know.

brxbxp64390According to a Bloomberg Markets report published just over a year ago, Americans spent more money on restaurants and bars than on grocery stores for the first time ever. The report goes on to suggest that generational shifts are to blame.

Understand what’s behind the trend.

“Millennials are more willing than previous generations to spend money on dining out; and they appreciate the social aspect of sharing a meal together,” writes Gerry Hays in a recent story.

One could argue that this trend has been slowly climbing with every generation as industrialization took hold. Some credit the birth of the fast food industry to the opening of the first automat in 1912 and their popular slogan “Less work for Mother.” As more and more women entered the workforce, time to prepare meals plummeted as disposable income rose.

Millennials, representing the largest consumer purchasing power in history, have simply amplified what’s been going on for a hundred years. But don’t let that paint a bleak picture.

Rethink what consumers are really saying with their dollars.

It’s not enough anymore to simply talk about time pressures and increased spending money.

  • Millennials are the most multi-ethnic and culturally curious generation to date. They have a far broader palate and are more willing to try new things than their parents.
  • They are also very sociable; however, don’t assume that means dining out all the time. According to research conducted by the Research Institute for Cooking and Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI), Millennials cook at home with friends much more often than other generations — 63 percent report “always” or “frequently,” as opposed to only 25 percent of the same frequency reported by Baby Boomers.

These are exactly the consumer profiles and habits that grocery stores can accommodate.

  • Offer and promote a range of world cuisine not only in the produce section, but also in the wine, deli, spice, and frozen sections as well.
  • Redefine the deli experience by offering additional specialty stations such as cheese shops, sushi bars, and freshly prepared ready-to-eat meals. In fact, there has been “explosive” growth in fresh prepared foods, which is expected to continue, according to Supermarket News.
  • Broaden the cachet of your frozen food selection. Brands like Devour, Evol, Amy’s, and Saffron Road are revolutionizing the so-called TV dinner.
  • Exploit shelf-edge tags and signage to cross-promote menu and recipe items that appeal to this youthful, cross-cultural demographic throughout your entire store.

In the end, it all boils down to relevance. It’s the age-old wisdom of knowing who your customers are, what they want, and how to provide it.


Is your business taking advantage of Pokémania?

By now almost everyone, including those who haven’t played it yet, has heard about the Pokémon Go craze. But it’s just a computer game, right? Not quite.

The very nature of this game requires that players get out of their homes and into their communities (e.g., local parks, libraries, restaurants, and shops). And savvy marketers are riding the wave by adopting some clever strategies to drive players to their businesses. Recently, Inc. published a how-to on leveraging Pokémania to generate traffic, earn new customers, and delight existing ones.

What does this mean for grocery stores? Here’s why we believe it’s a perfect fit.

  • Unlike big corporations, grocery and other retail destinations are strategically located near neighborhoods and in highly visible, well-traveled, public areas. Just where you might find Bulbasaur, Rattata, Pidgey, and Zubat.
  • Yelp, a go-to search engine for to-go food, has added a filter that shows which stores and establishments are near a PokéStop.
  • Pokémon Go is being hailed as the next big, inadvertent exercise program. Sore legs have become a phenomenon. Lifehacker even published a companion Pokémon workout plan. You care about this because you sell bottled water, fresh produce, and single-serving health and energy snacks.

Now if you really want to do this right, you should probably identify someone on your staff who is well versed in — and actually plays — Pokémon Go. Next, try to determine if you are near a PokéStop or gym, and if so, consider purchasing packs of Lures (your resident expert can explain this to you).

The rest is pretty commonsense marketing. Offer BOGOs on healthy items like those mentioned above — heck, throw in pain relief and sport insoles. If you’re not near a PokéStop or gym, go to where the action is. Set up a stand within a cluster of Pokémon activity and give away water and tasting samples from your deli with coupons driving players into your store.

Finally, make sure you have a social media presence, like Facebook, where you can post your Pokémon-related activities and promotions.

It might be a temporary fad, but Pokémon Go may also be the most relevant way to connect with your shoppers. We really like what the Inc. article says: “businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to create strong emotional bonds with new customers, and for very little money.”

Let’s play.