How to Advertise to Hungry Shoppers

grocery store advertising

We all know what it means to be a captive audience. Most often, it just means stumbling into your friend’s house only to listen to their child ramble on about their hobbies for a few hours. But if you’re a restaurant, realtor, lawyer, or other local business, there’s a captive audience you could be advertising to right now —and that’s grocery store shoppers.


We’ve all been there. Listlessly walking around the grocery store in the evening, piling frozen pizzas into our carts, and trying not to let hunger get the best of us. In this state, most grocery stores are already carefully anticipating our needs and doing everything they can to meet us on that level.


Grocery store advertising is the perfect way to reach out to a customer who’s already seconds away from ordering takeout or stressing over how they’re going to sell their house. Catching someone’s eye with in-store supermarket advertising is the perfect way to secure their business, and with the right planning, any business can use these tactics to smooth the edge off of hungry shoppers.

Set The Environment

9 times out of 10, when you walk into a grocery store you’ll smell the bakery and might be greeted with a great floral display. Businesses know that greeting customers with pleasant aromas calms them down and invites them to take their time while shopping. This is a simple move any business can recreate, and it’s important to think about the scene you create right when a customer walks in.

For businesses considering grocery store advertising, it can be helpful to place your supermarket advertisement near an entryway —especially for hungry shoppers that already know they’re not going to cook tonight. Say someone runs in to get paper towels. The smell of the bakery amps up their hunger and their patience is running thin. Then, they see your restaurant’s supermarket advertisement. All of a sudden, they’re calling in an order, and you’ve landed yourself another sale.

Decision Fatigue

Grocery stores know how to catch a shopper’s eye at the end of their journey too. Remember all those candy aisles stocked with magazines and soft drinks right by the register? Those are set to play on your “Decision Fatigue.” This concept is the idea that hungry shoppers will be too tired by the end of shopping to resist throwing in one more candy bar. Even the health nut with a cart full of produce can’t resist a pack of gum at the last minute.

This is where grocery store advertising really comes into play. Carefully planning your in-store supermarket advertising to pop out at the most fatigued shopper can help you secure their business well after they leave the store.

Or, imagine printing your business’s supermarket advertisement on the back of the customer’s receipt. As they bundle up their groceries, they’re sure to review how much they spent. And then there’s your business’s supermarket advertisement right there for them to see. No matter what, you know they’re headed home with your business’s info in their pocket.

Think About Height

Grocery store advertising doesn’t have to be limited to exhausted workers. More often than not, they’re not just shopping for one. Setting bright, eye-catching in-store supermarket advertising lower to the ground is a way to reach kids who may tear off the coupon and hand it to their parents.

Think about the BOGO coupons for sugary, chocolate-chip yogurt placed near the bottom of the cooler. Most businesses aren’t planning to use their advertisement for grocery stores to attract anyone’s knees; they’re advertising to kiddos.

Rewards Programs 

Using grocery store advertising to promote your company’s rewards program is a great hack. The hungry shopper who is split between two restaurants, and is suddenly reminded by your supermarket advertisement they have enough points for a free pizza, is probably going to cash in on the free pizza.

For services like dry cleaners or nail salons, this is an easy way to attract more business as well. Because of the competitive nature of grocery store advertising, placing an unbeatable coupon or promoting a free or discounted new customer offer against other advertiser’s offers can quickly seal the deal. Suddenly, because of your in-store supermarket advertising, a customer is walking out of the store wary of their chipped nail or wrinkled shirt.


All in all, customers are going to be attracted to discounted products or services. It’ll be easier to attract new business by using a supermarket advertisement to run a coupon than an entire branding campaign because customers will be so quick to redeem your offer. Plus, if they’re hungry, it’ll make all the more sense to quickly cash in on an unbeatable deal.

Not only that, but research has shown that people are physically triggered by coupons. In a recent sample, customers who received a $10 voucher experienced a 38% rise in oxytocin levels and an 11% boost in overall happiness. Their respiration rates dropped by 32%, their heart rates dropped by 5%, and the sweat levels on their palms were up to 20 times lower than in applicants who did not receive a coupon.

Triggering these physical and emotional responses from a hungry shopper —who is already low on endorphins, is a surefire way to catch their attention. The emotional spike at the end of a long day is the easiest way to make sure that your advertisement makes an impact on them.

We All Shop Hungry

Ultimately, there’s no way around it: we all shop hungry. Venturing out to the grocery store is great when you set out with a full belly and careful list, but all too often this is far from the case. Nevertheless, those careful shoppers are often as accessible as the hungry ones. In fact, if they took the time to write the list and plan their venture, they may be even more likely to watch out for a supermarket advertisement that could mean saving on the things they already spend money on. Either way, whether you’re hungry or not, everyone goes to the grocery store.

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