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Spar launches microsite to push own-brand range

Spar UK has stepped up its online activity this week with the launch of a summer microsite that will be used to promote its own-brand range, engage with customers and encourage social media interaction.

The business, which oversees more than 2,300 independent stores across the UK, does not have an eCommerce operation but by building its online presence over the crucial summer months, Spar is recognising the importance of reaching customers on multiple channels.

Running between now and the end of August, the site will host various competitions and provide a platform for the business to push its newly-enhanced own-brand range, which includes seasonal foods and wine.

Spar marketing manager Laura McNally told Essential Retail: "This year the microsite is focused on our own-brand range and is really about highlighting the credentials of that, including the freshness and the versatility of the products on offer.

"We're predominantly targeting females, aged 20-44, and if you're looking to engage with a young audience then digital is certainly the way to go – digital is absolutely an important platform for us."

As well as promoting Spar products, the microsite will include key guides on barbeque safety, best practice for healthy living and, with Glastonbury and other summer events on the horizon, there will also be what McNally describes as "festival survival kits".

The second stage of the site launch will see downloadable summer recipes introduced next week, which is a regular marketing tactic used by a number of the UK's leading food retailers, including Tesco, Sainsbury's and Waitrose.

Spar plans to communicate its summer message on a multichannel level, with its stores and website central to a campaign that also includes targeted e-newsletters and social media activity based on some of the microsite content.

At an event held at Spar UK's headquarters in Harrow, last week, the retailer detailed its plans to make its own-brand range a larger part of its food offering. Part of the new strategy to promote new product lines will see samples dished out in some stores, while the retailer is also stocking a number of exclusive wine and Prosecco products.

Managing director Debbie Robinson said that two key aims for the business, in what has become a challenging and fast changing food market, is to stay relevant and to "future-proof" the organisation.

Over the coming months, Spar will be developing a youth focus group that involves people under the age of 20 already working in the business. Once formalised, a board of 12 young people will have a role to play in advising the retailer's senior management on current trends and behaviours.

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Spar UK

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