Revamping the Store Circular
Retailers are constantly seeking ways to innovate their use of digital media to drive different consumer actions. From email to online video to display, brands have diversified their advertising strategies to remain top of mind for hyperconnected consumers.
Best Buy, for example, has used email for years to alert consumers to limited-time sales. Only in recent years has the consumer electronics retailer altered its subject line messaging to drive more in-the-moment behavior. In 2014, a common subject line for their limited-time sales read, “3 DAY SALE.” Two years later, a Best Buy subject line is strategically designed to drive in-the-moment action, such as “FLASH SALE: Four Hours of Savings Starts Now!”
Even grocers have gotten more into the digital mix. Kroger has ramped up its online display advertising by 23 percent over the past 12 months (Market Track advertising data), as well as expanded its range of display ad messaging, advertising everything from recipes to sweepstakes to promotional deals on products in-store.
Meanwhile, not much has been said about the print circular. Many retailers have maintained the schedule they’ve had for years, circulating print ads weekly to drive shoppers to their stores. Others have scaled back their print circular programs. Across all channels, retailers decreased their total print circulars by 11 percent over the past 12 months ending in May 2016 (Market Track promotions data).
Though new digital strategies are more likely to make front-page news, since the beginning of 2015, certain retailers have made significant changes to their print circulars.
This past Sunday, Rite Aid revamped its circular to focus more on the products than the discount prices (see image below). Rite Aid is making the ads easier to navigate and more digitally friendly. John Learish, senior vice president of marketing for Rite Aid, stated in an article on drugstorenews.com, “We had a real opportunity to be more feature-oriented on the pages. What customers really want are well-organized pages with appealing product images shown in context. Through a detailed and disciplined use of stylization and photography, we are able to make a big difference in the visual appeal of merchandise. The products are the hero, and they’re not overshadowed by iconography or big, bold price points.”
Market Track looked at its promotional data to see the difference in Rite Aid’s circulars after the shift in strategy, and compared it to other retailers that have recently transitioned to a more product-oriented approach in their print circulars. In addition to Rite Aid’s advertisements below, Wal-Mart altered the look of its circulars in May 2015, focusing on a catalog style to show products in more context. Kroger also updated its circulars at the end of April 2016, using more "white space" in place of a traditional ad block format.
A lot of focus has been put on the new ways retailers are leveraging digital media. In the case of Rite Aid, and previously Kroger and Wal-Mart, they’ve changed their approach to advertising in traditional media as well.
Ryne Misso is the director of marketing at Market Track, a provider of market intelligence solutions based on comprehensive analysis of the advertising, promotional and e-commerce landscape.
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