by Eric Pereira / Content Creator
Tate Cox, president of the Cox Food Group, is seeing promising results by using social media to market his stores in eastern Kentucky.
He said the group’s social media marketing has been an “absolute game-changer” over the last 18 months, so much so that they no longer use print advertising.
“We run all of our advertising through Facebook and hold weekly contests to encourage our customers to ‘like’ and ‘share’ our ads,” Cox said. “We give away a $50 IGA gift cards each week to one random winner per store for participating in this Facebook experience.”
With that said, Cox sees social media as a “must” for grocers, as well as an effective way to market their brands in today’s world.
“It gives you the ability to reach the most people relatively cheap or free if you know how to use it,” he said. “It also gets your customers and potential customers to engage in your content. Investing in a social media manager has been one of the best investments for our company.”
He also mentioned that those inexperienced with social media might want to look into virtual assistants and social media managing firms.
“We live in a world that is changing fast every day, and it’s one of those things you just have to figure out and learn as you go,” he said. “If you don’t do it, you’re going to get left behind.”
Cox Food Group operates six IGA locations across Eastern Kentucky. They’re located in Jackson, West Liberty, Hindman, McDowell, Hyden and Happy.
Cox said while they have many other objectives, the customers still come first.
“We have several goals that we would like to achieve over the next six months from a financial and company standpoint,” Cox said. “However, our top priority is customer service and safety as we navigate this pandemic.
“Our main goal is to serve our customers first and provide them with a safe, clean and family-friendly grocery store that each member of our communities can be proud to shop at.”
Like many other grocers across the country, labor and supply are proving to be a challenge for Cox Food Group, according to General Manager Jeff Lutes.
“The supply chain is a ride on a roller coaster; we try and focus on the essential needs of customers,” Lutes said. “We as retailers don’t have a lot of control on the supply chain. We focus first on what we are receiving and maximizing on those opportunities.”
Although labor has been “very tough” for the group, Lutes said it’s made them more efficient operators.
“We have learned to adapt and focus more on training – and especially cross-training – so that employees are in more flexible roles inside of the store and that, in turn, has made them more aware of the challenges we face,” he said. “We have empowered them to help us make the decisions needed to continue our success in the years to come.”