How To Grow Beauty and General Sales at Grocery Stores

The Acosta Group study reflects grocery shopper behaviors and perceptions. It outlines strategies to convert a percentage of consumers currently purchasing Health and Beauty Care (HBC) and General Merchandise (GM) in other channels to shop for these items at the grocery store. 

They know that the shopping habits of Health and Beauty Care and General Merchandise are hard to break. 

Shoppers tend to think of grocery stores as places just for food and beverage purchases. However, 87% of grocery store shoppers usually purchase health and beauty care and general merchandise outside the grocery channel.

Price and selection are top shopper considerations for Health and Beauty Care and General Merchandise purchases. 47% of consumers surveyed say they shop at their favorite retailer for the lowest everyday prices. In comparison, 45% say that it is because their preferred retailer offers the selection of products they want to buy. 

Conversely, 48% of these shoppers say that because of their negative perceptions of price and promotions at the grocery, they do not shop for Health and Beauty Care and General Merchandise products frequently when making their food and beverage purchases.

Strategies to growth sales in grocery stores

The Acosta Group study identifies the top ten ‘gateway categories’ that represent 85% of the volume for Health and Beauty Care (HBC) and 76% of the volume for General Merchandise (GM) in grocery, per NielsenIQ Panel data. These categories include over-the-counter (OTC) products, nutrition, oral care, bath/shower, kitchen, outdoor recreation, batteries, etc. 

“In addition to understanding the critical gateway categories for conversion, we’ve identified three key strategies to shift shopper behaviors and perceptions and drive expanded sales at grocery for HBC and GM,” said Shannon Hodock, SVP, Client Development, Acosta Group.

  • Overcome perceptions of high prices and take credit for good prices: 80% of shoppers say that better prices and promotions could help grocers gain more business, and grocers have some good stories they need to tell on competitive pricing.
  • Drive shopper impulse purchasing: While 90% of shoppers are planners when purchasing food, Health and Beauty Care, and General Merchandise, 70% admit to buying products impulsively. Shoppers are far more open to impulse purchases in Health and Beauty Care and General Merchandise (27%) vs. food (8%). If consumers see that an item is on sale, one-third are prompted to purchase it before or during their shopping trip.
  • Expand the selection of Health and Beauty Care and General Merchandise products and brands: Customers want better variety, selection, and brand availability. Of note, national brands are the fastest path to conversion and trip growth, but 59% of retailers say they will continue prioritizing private labels.

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Get on the grocery list

“We believe grocery retailers have an exciting and expansive opportunity to capture and grow HBC and GM sales,” said Hodock. “Strategically, retailers need to create a targeted ‘get on the grocery list’ campaign for their shoppers, incorporating a holistic omnichannel strategy and a customized marketing plan as they tackle the three key challenges to overcoming current perceptions and shopping habits.”

The promotional goal for grocery retailers should be to build their shoppers’ total basket at grocery, focusing on key gateway categories for conversion. Implementation of simple promotions, such as discounts or temporary price reductions, buy one get one free (BOGOs), and loyalty/rewards programs will drive the greatest shopper interest. Customization of offer types, features, or displays, will help to drive the strongest results.

“Retailers will want to optimize their selections in HBC and GM merchandise, especially in the gateway categories where selection is highlighted as being most important to shoppers,” said Hodock. “Harnessing the power of national brands can also assist in driving growth.”

About the study and Acosta Group

Acosta Group shared its proprietary Shopper Community study on HBC and GM sales in grocery ahead of this week’s NACDS Annual Meeting.

Acosta Group’s Accelerating Growth of HBC & GM at Grocery Study was conducted from Sept. 1-7, 2023, with 1,017 primary household shoppers. Respondents are part of the company’s proprietary Shopper Community.

Acosta Group is a trusted retail, marketing, and foodservice agency consortium that empowers brands and retailers to win in the modern marketplace. With 95+ years of expertise, Acosta delivers transformative, commerce-focused solutions that connect partners with customers at every journey stage.