Retailers all across the U.S. have been coming up with creative ways to power through the pandemic and reach their customers. Social media has been a huge help for this, since each platform has different features that allow brands to connect with their followers. The Greek International Food Market, located in Boston, Massachusetts, has been utilizing social media so well during COVID-19 that they have not only increased their customer base, but also their sales.
Quick Updates Through Facebook Live
“I didn’t realize how impactful everything I was doing actually was until I started my freezer tours,” Katerina Iliades, founder and CEO of Greek International Food Market, said. “I didn’t have enough time to update the customers on what I was carrying, so I decided that Facebook live was a good option for me. It was very successful.”
Katerina would walk around her whole store, show viewers that her shelves were full and introduced them to different items and explained what they were. She started receiving great feedback from her customers, who were calling and placing orders based on the video they saw. She was creating a sense of community for those who were bunkered down, and helped to bring customers back into the shop.
Founded in 2009, The Greek International Food Market offers Mediterranean specialty food products that are mostly imports from Greece. They also have a kitchen where they prepare fresh Mediterranean dishes for purchase or for catering.
What Will the Future Bring?
This whole pandemic started around Easter time, which is the food market’s busiest time of the year. Katerina lost almost half of her staff because they were worried about COVID-19, so she had worries whether or not Easter would be successful, if consumers would be gathering together for the holiday, and whether or not her store would even make it through.
“I just placed a big order and fully stocked my store when I realized that people needed the necessities. I started bringing in produce and all of these items that I never carried before that people needed. People saw that I was making all of these changes and knew that we were a safe place to shop,” Katerina said.
Getting Creative Outside of Social Media
To help ease some of the fear and tension that the pandemic brought to the Easter season, Katerina hired an Easter bunny to be socially distant and stand on the side of the food shop and just wave at customers coming and going. It was a fun thing to do, and it brought happiness to so many shoppers during a stressful time.
“I started doing giveaways, such as dough to make pies or anything, and would give them to families with kids so they can create something and send me a picture of it,” Katerina said. “It was just to keep the energy and excitement up. I wanted to give people an opportunity to do something as a family, because I value family and that’s a big part of who I am.”
Big Impacts with Small Changes
The Greek International Food Market also offered curbside pickup and deliveries, which they had never offered before. It’s a great way to get Greek food to consumers, since most didn’t get the chance to go to Greece this year. The impact with these seemingly small but big changes made consumers feel more a part of the store, which helped to increase both customers and sales.
Katerina continues to film Facebook live videos about twice a week to stay connected with her customers and plans to increase that during the holiday season. Her concern for the pandemic affecting her store still lingers, as it will with any retailer, but as long as she keeps making these personal connections with her customers, Katerina can power through these difficult times.