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    Tap your online community to boost holiday deli sales

    The fall and winter holidays present a great opportunity for grocers to boost their deli and prepared food sales, and social media is a great way to get the word out to shoppers.

    After all, so many folks are already posting photos, sending invitations and searching for recipes on sites like Facebook – odds are you’re going to reach a whole bunch of consumers looking for ways to further ease their holiday meal burden, from entrees to sides to the whole meal right down to the pumpkin pie.

    Scores of grocery stores are already expanding their holiday meal catering selections, offering precooked meals including a whole turkey or ham, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables and other various sides, and desserts, ready for pickup to take home, heat and eat. And many have added the convenience of online ordering.

    Some examples I found on a recent stroll through Facebook:

    - The Hy-Vee in Waukee, Iowa, posted this on Nov. 15: “Dinner's at your house this year? Don't lift a thing but your phone. Order our oven-roasted prime rib, with three sides and a dozen rolls, or any of our other family meals. See our ad for details on how to pull off a carefree holiday: https://www.hy-vee.com/shop/WeeklyAd.aspx?noredirect

    - Wegmans Pittsford in Rochester, N.Y., posted this on Nov. 7: “Have you started planning for your Thanksgiving dinner yet? How can we help?” When a follower replied, “Cook, deliver and serve it for me! Lol,” the store replied, “We can certainly help cook - and we do offer delivery services as well (for a fee) - then you can be the hostess! 2 out of 3 isn't bad - right? Check out our Catering site http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?storeId=10052&catalogId=10002&langId=-1&identifier=CATEGORY_508"

    - Mariano’s Fresh Market in the Chicago metro area posted this on Nov. 11: “Let Mariano's cook your Holiday Dinner this year! Choose between a full turkey dinner or spiral ham dinner! Available while supplies last! http://www.marianos.com/holidaydinners.aspx

    - Harris Teeter posted on Nov. 17: “Don’t feel like cooking this year? We don’t blame you! Bring home one of our Fresh Foods Market Dinners for Thanksgiving and let us do the work for you.”

    - SoCal chain Ralphs posted this on Nov. 10: “Between work and shuffling kids to and from activities, there’s hardly any time left to think about your Thanksgiving feast. We can help, and no one has to know it’s not made from scratch. Be an early bird and enjoy $5 off holiday ordering. http://bit.ly/1gfnevO (Holiday dinners available for pick up beginning November 15th. Early Bird digital coupon must be redeemed by November 13th.)”

    - Whole Foods Market is giving away a holiday feast to Facebook users who take the retailer’s “Thanksgiving Personality Quiz”

    Leverage your social media network to drive traffic and sales to your deli and prepared foods counter. Winning over your shoppers when they need you the most – to help them satisfy family and friends on a special day – will keep them coming back again and again.



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