How Publix Has Taken Grocery Shopping Beyond The Aisles

In Business, Social Media by UFSocial Staff

by Stasha Johnston, UFSocial Contributor

When you hear ‘Where Shopping is a Pleasure,’ most people in the southeast will know what brand this friendly tag line represents.

Publix, is a grocery retailer that has been around for 85 years (they actually just celebrated their anniversary), and has established itself as the leader in the southeastern U.S., well known as the friendly neighborhood grocer.

As a busy suburban mom, I find myself in one of my local Publix stores 2-3 times every week.  It is most definitely where I spend a large majority of my money, as I am constantly stocking the fridge with fresh fruits, vegetables, deli meats and proteins. Publix is a brand that I have come to rely on all the time when it comes to so many facets – fresh produce, non-expired packaged goods, friendly staff, accessibility, product assortment and availability and healthy options for my family. I would consider myself a Publix loyalist, not only out of convenience and comfort but because of quality and reliability as well. This is easily one of the most prominent brands in my life right now and one that I interact with almost daily to some capacity, whether it is in store or via email.

The company does a commendable job executing marketing and advertising across a multitude of platforms, and exceeds my expectations when it comes to content and communications. What’s interesting, and a bit unexpected for me, is that I have come to view Publix as a pioneer in its industry when it comes to multimedia and the digital landscape. A brand that many may think is a late adopter and behind the curve of technology, is actually holding its own and leading the charge in many cases when it comes to digital communications.

Not only does it have a substantial Twitter following (almost 200K on @Publix and 5K+ on @Publixhelps) and an even more impressive Facebook fan base (2 Million+), but it has a robust CRM portfolio that consists of monthly emails and at least two different customer ‘clubs.’ These customer clubs are interesting and ingenious. Simply put, Publix has identified a couple primary customer segments based on affinities and life stages and then created a digital community/club based on this mindset.

For example, people who sign up for the Baby Club ® get monthly newsletters, exclusive coupons and parenting advice. It is marketing-made-simple, as the brand builds significant and meaningful brand equity among new and current customers by pulling on emotional heartstrings and helping the customers out with simple savings and information. They also have a traditional email campaign that sends out product launches (i.e. their newest Buccaneer Sub), seasonal promotions and BOGO opportunities.


Publix has also shown digital savvy with its new online ordering and digital couponing initiatives. Online or with the Publix smartphone app, customers can order bakery or deli items ahead of time, in order to get through the store quicker. They can also ‘clip’ coupons and save them to their profile, and then apply those coupons at checkout simply by typing their phone number into the keypad. The mobile app also allows for making your grocery list on your phone, checking out recipes or refilling a prescription. The once laborious, time-consuming and often stressful chore of grocery shopping has been made easier, quicker and more efficient with Publix’s digital tactics.

Newspaper ad

Newspaper insert

Even amidst all of the digital components within the company’s communication plan, Publix continues to have a presence in offline tactics. From newspapers and FSIs, to OOH billboards and TV/radio, Publix has a notable presence in all of these more traditional, above-the-line channels and does a very good job staying top-of mind via many customer touch points. It is apparent that they spend more in online/digital channels but they continue to see success with printed coupons and full color inserts in the Sunday circular.

This company has an adept and well-versed marketing team that is executing a comprehensive communications plan built on a solid strategy.  After 85 years in the business, Publix has succeeded at delivering a pleasurable shopping experience in store. As they came into the 21st century, the brand has also succeeded at staying relevant and delivering a pleasurable, quick and reliable online digital experience that adds significant value to the brand.

Feature Image: Alexf (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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UFSocial Staff