Independent Grocer Uses SMS Texts to Prevent 25% Loss of Caribbean Produce

According to a recent Independent Grocers Financial Survey of 143 independent grocers, 2013 was a challenging year, with some stores increasing sales and others falling short of profit. To remain competitive, independent retailers need to not only control expenses, but also focus on points of differentiation including excellent customer service and a unique in-store experience. To address some of these challenges, Ruben’s Grocery, an independent specialty grocer in McAllen, Texas, has added SMS to their marketing mix.

“My dad started Ruben’s Grocery as a rural, neighborhood store 42 years ago,”said Ruben Cavazos, who now manages the store and specializes in international foods from South America and the Caribbean.Independent grocer Ruben's Grocery

With TextMarks, it’s a win-win for our customers and for us. I am able to sell out our shipment of Caribbean produce the same day after sending a text”

— Ruben Cavazos of Ruben’s Grocery

Need to Reach Customers Immediately

They had a very specific need. Unlike his other product shipments which had set schedules,  Ruben could not predict when his shipment of Caribbean produce would come in. “We never knew when our truck with Caribbean produce was going to arrive. When it did come, we had no way of telling our customers who were interested in fresh, Caribbean produce to come to our store. So we lost about 25% of our produce shipment. We needed a way to reach out customers on an immediate basis.”

TextMarks SMS Used To Move Produce Off Shelves

Ruben’s Grocery chose TextMarks SMS to communicate to this targeted group of customers. They created the keyword VIANDA, the Spanish word for Caribbean produce, and invited all their customers interested in this product to opt-in to their text group. The minute the truck arrives, Cavazos broadcasts a text message to all the members of the VIANDA group that a shipment has arrived and to come buy it fresh.  He trained his sales people to enroll customers into the text program, and even offered a free chicken as an incentive to join.

Ruben’s Grocery Prevents 25% of Produce Shipment Loss

The result? “With TextMarks, it’s a win-win for our customers and for us. I am able to sell out our shipment of Caribbean produce the same day after sending a text, instead of having 25% of it left sitting on our shelves. Plus, it keeps my customers happy because they immediately get notified when we have what they want.”

The future is bright for this unique specialty store. Cavazos plans on aggressively growing his text marketing efforts by adding more keywords and experimenting with targeted messages to different customer groups.  “I have customers interested in imports from specific countries as well as “foodies” interested in our high-end products. Not everybody reads their emails but everyone looks at texts. TextMarks is easy to use, it is instantaneous, and the price is right.”

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