Healthy Food Marketing: An Unlikely Love Story, Millennial Parents and Club Stores

costco

By now you know millennials are obsessed with locally sourced, hand crafted and artisanal brands. So it makes perfect sense that they love… Costco?! It’s surprising and true. Whether it’s Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s, the generation that’s redefining shopping and retail “are on the rise at clubs.”

So why then, do millennial parents love “clubbing”?

Even though millennials are willing to spend more on quality, priorities shift when they have kids. Reality sets in and their budget shrinks to adjust. According to Jeff Fromm, co-author of Millennials with Kids: “there are more than 15 million millennial families in this country, and they’re more likely to shop at Costco than the general population.” Just because millennials are popping out kids, doesn’t mean that they’ve lost their shopping integrity. They’re still looking for customization, convenience and a cutting edge experience. And Costco is delivering.

Yep, there’s an app for that

Game changing consumers love “clubbing because of the brilliant balance club stores are developing.” They’re meeting them in the middle with cost-saving opportunities AND the quality millennials demand from their favorite brands. Older millennials in their late twenties and early thirties are more likely to belong to a retailer’s loyalty program and more likely to download the retailer’s app on their phone. The Costco app allows users to look through tons of monthly coupons and “clip” the ones they want. Once they clip their coupon, it gets added to their virtual shopping list so they don’t forget it about when they are in the store.

Not your grandmother’s clubstore

The love for Costco goes beyond the app. The in-store experience at Costco is very strategic. Richard George, professor of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University’s Haub School of Business, says that “Costco really reinforces the experience beyond price savings. They really make it a treasure hunt.” Who can turn down a Costco sample? But it’s more than samples millennials are hunting for: they love discovering brands they love and even new brands at Costco.

Watch out Whole Foods, Costco has fresh

Also, riding on the coattails of the fresh revolution, club stores have paid attention to how strongly millennials feel about their food. Costco and Sam’s are offering more and more organic and fresh options. In fact, Costco is the leading organic retailer in the country. More than Whole Foods. Yes, you read that right, more than Whole Foods.

So what can marketers learn from all of this?

Hold on to the tactics that work for you as a brand, but don’t be afraid to evolve. No one is moving faster than today’s consumers and no one is harder to please. Millennials want tasteful, thoughtful and innovative products but they don’t want to spend too much. They love unusual products. But when their beloved kombucha becomes loved by the masses, they’re no longer impressed.

The bottom line: Clubbing is irresistible

Millennials love Costco because it’s everything they know they can count on plus delightful surprises. Buying toilet paper is bulk not so exciting. Buying Kombucha in bulk? Hello sweet spot.

Marketing to millennial parents is both easy and tricky at the same time. And Costco can provide some helpful clues. So can I. Let’s talk.

 

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