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Mammograms on Aisle 5
By: Maryann Fabian
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Talk about your one-stop shopping. A supermarket in Texas offered free mammograms last weekend. If you recall, it was Father’s Day weekend. Oh, and this is Men’s Health Month, so you guys know where you rate. (Unless men got to watch?)

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at The Breast Center for Excellence in Amarillo joined forces with United Supermarkets to provide the service to women shoppers. Thanks to a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute grant, any female Texas resident over age 40 without health insurance was eligible for a free mammogram. It was actually a pretty clever idea to help the community at the place where the whole community tends to go.

If you wanted to hold a breast cancer screening, the supermarket is, well, your target market. According to a white paper by the Time Use Institute, women account for two-thirds of all grocery shoppers. And the average age of a female grocery shopper is 47. But when you look at all other aspects — income, race, ethnicity — grocery shoppers look just like the general population. No surprise here; weekends are the busiest days.

Events at supermarkets may be one way to increase brand loyalty. Another report on U.S. grocery shopper trends says that while supermarkets haven’t grown, the competition has. Other stores such as convenience stores, dollar stores, Walmarts, and Sam’s Clubs have been slowly adding grocery space into their square footage since 2005. To compete, supermarkets need to become a little more “super” to separate themselves from the pack. Retailers are starting to recognize the opportunities in innovation. Research shows that stores that focused on innovations positioned “on me” (personal care), “in me” (food/health), or “around me” (auto/pet/household care) boosted sales.

 An interesting quote from the report: “Historically we sold our shoppers merchandise to fill their pantries. They are now asking us for help in understanding how to live better lives.”

Now, if you just pretend that it’s May or October when breast cancer events usually happen. But that could’ve been the strategy: make your event stand out by doing it when others least expect it.

Maybe prostate screenings will be held in the frozen food aisle in October, during breast cancer awareness month.

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About the Author
Maryann Fabian is a copywriter who has crafted the voice of some of this country's best brands.
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