Kroger links up Gen Z favorite TikTok on back-to-school campaign

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Dive Brief:

  • Kroger is using TikTok, a rapidly-growing social media app, to feature shoppable offers on back-to-school products, according to Adweek
  • Kroger has partnered with four social media influencers to post videos promoting the company’s hashtag #TransformUrDorm and to encourage social media users to upload videos of their dorm room transformations. According to TikTok, Kroger is the first retailer to issue a sponsored hashtag challenge as part of the platform’s shoppable content.
  • The hashtag allows social media surfers to shop for Kroger products like granola bars, laundry baskets, and popcorn makers on a dedicated page designed to appeal to the college-age demographic. Users can also browse Kroger’s site within the TikTok app.

Dive Insight:

As Gen Z goes off to college and starts solidifying their shopping habits, securing loyalty early on is an important step for retailers. With 4 million members of Gen Z reaching adulthood each year and an estimated $143 billion in spending up for grabs, Kroger has begun marketing on one of the most popular social media platforms with the coveted demographic. 

Translating social media engagement into sales remains a hurdle for advertisers targeting Gen Z, with e-commerce accounting for only 7.4% of their spending. Gen Z tends to use social media to research purchases and discover new brands, so Kroger’s ability to use TikTok’s in-app purchase feature could help break through by making it easy to turn engagement into buying.

Launched in 2018, TikTok is an international version of a Chinese short-form video app, Douyin, that combines aspects of Snapchat and Vine, according to IGD RetailAnalysis, encouraging users to upload “short, creative, and quirky videos.” Most of the app’s users are between 16 and 24 years old and spend on average 45 minutes each day perusing uploaded videos in the app.

In addition to Kroger, Chipotle used TikTok last year to encourage users to post videos of its burrito bowl lids. Fast food restaurants, in particular, have demonstrated how powerful the tool can be when it comes to creating direct relationships with customers. 

According to social media management platform Hootsuite, 69% of U.S. adults have at least one social media account and the average American user has about 7.1 social media accounts. Grocers have come to realize the Instagram-worthy appeal of colorful displays, local products and more in recent years. Shopify recently identified Whole Foods as one of the most engaging retailers on Instagram. 

However, staying relevant in the ever-evolving social media space means retailer have to not only familiarize themselves with the latest platforms, but be able to utilize them in ways that feel authentic to users as well.

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