Costcutter Supermarkets Group is rolling out its social media training programme to all its retailers in 2016, following a pilot programme which saw members drive increased sales.

Initially focusing on Facebook, the social media training programme is aimed at equipping Costcutter Supermarkets Group’s retailers with the tools and knowledge to develop their online presence and engage with their customers. The training programme will be available to all 2,600 retailers and is part of Costcutter Supermarkets Group’s long-term investment in IT and digital platforms that create in-store efficiencies and drive customer footfall.

“There is significant demand from our retailers to use social media as they recognise the opportunity it provides to engage with their customers. With two thirds of adults in the UK owning a smartphone and 90% of 16-24 year olds having one, a strong social media presence is key to reaching consumers who are not consuming media in the traditional way,” said Sean Russell, digital marketing manager for Costcutter Supermarkets Group.

Retailers will be able to control and tailor their store’s Facebook pages and there will be a link to the master brand Facebook page. Russell said this would create consistency for consumers and reinforce national promotions and initiatives, while allowing retailers to bring their local proposition to life, whether through running store specific promotions, competitions, or organising and promoting local events.

He added: “We want all our retailers to be able to take control and bring their own personality to their Facebook pages, bringing their local proposition to life. Our focus is on creating online engagement to drive store footfall and retailers will be shown how to tailor their activity to the wants and needs of specific local consumers.”

During this year’s pilot programme, he said there had been a number of successes including:

• Costcutter retailer Derek Ritchie, whose store in Ellon, Scotland, went from a standing start to over 1,000 Facebook page likes in just two months. One whisky promotion achieved sell-out in store, reaching almost 8,000 local consumers and over 900 likes, comments and shares.

• Alan Kasch, who owns a Mace store in Worcester, posted a beer promotion on Facebook shortly before a rugby World Cup game. This activity drove so many customers into his store that he had to draft in extra staff to replenish his stock to meet customer demand.

A resource centre including best practice guides, ‘top tips’ and retailer case studies is also available to retailers on the ActivHUB retailer portal.