In 2013, Canadian Grocer wrote “The Obituary of the Flyer,” an article that speculated on the eventual comeuppance of this tried-and-true retail marketing tool.
Fast forward to the early days of 2018, and we find that retail flyers are still going strong. So strong, in fact, that Toronto-based marketing research firm BrandSpark reports a staggering 91 percent of Canadians read a grocery flyer each month, while other statistics suggest that 80 percent of Canadian consumers read grocery flyers every week (vs. mass merchant and drug stores flyers, at 62 percent and 59 percent, respectively).
Now, the savvy marketers would say, “Great! Consumers are reading flyers! But are grocery flyers actually driving conversions?” And while “flyer conversion rate” is an important benchmark to track, it’s also problematic for a number of reasons: It’s just one component in the big picture of the customer journey, and as a stand-alone value, it ignores the multiplicity of factors and influences that are integral to the buying process, this includes not just whether consumers shop a retailer’s products and services, but also whether they’re one-time buyers or shop with any frequency, how much they spend during each visit, and more.
At Mercatus, we view the customer journey in more holistic terms and believe that the grocery circular is only one component of a much broader omnichannel retail strategy that taps into the key drivers behind consumer purchases (price, quality, convenience, and product selection) in every interaction marketers have with their target audience.
And because shoppers expect a seamless customer experience, regardless of how and where they make their purchases—whether it’s online, in-store, click-and-collect, or more likely, a combination of different channels—the onus is on forward-thinking grocery retailers to adapt over time to keep up.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled the following four things that savvy retailers should be doing to promote better customer experiences and drive higher engagement rates through their grocery flyers.
1. Make it ultra personal
Consumers are inundated with marketing messages throughout their daily lives—the majority of which get ignored because the offers don’t take consumers’ unique wants and needs into account. But it doesn’t have to be that way-retailers in particular have the power to cut through the sales clutter. All it takes is tapping into the multitude of data that’s being collected on consumers, to deliver real value across all of the retail channels they interact with over the course of their customer journey.
Recommendation: Leverage the latest marketing automation and machine learning technology that not only captures standard demographic and psychographic data points, but also online browsing and buying behaviors, and utilizes this information to offer ultra-personalized, relevant and compelling content that makes consumers want to buy from your stores.
2. Make it interactive.
Consumers want to feel connected with their preferred brands, and more big-name retailers have caught on to the power of interactivity—using digital call-outs in print and online to offer additional tools and content to build shopper engagement and increase the likelihood of purchase.
Recommendation: Take a page from heritage retailer Canadian Tire’s cross-channel marketing playbook: Online sales for the brand’s core retail division doubled after they integrated QR codes, URLs, and online search suggestions into their paper catalog. When activated, these digital tags interacted with the retailer’s mobile app to unlock additional information, including detailed product information, ratings, videos, and other content.
3. Help shoppers find you.
Almost everyone is shopping online these days—they’re searching for the everyday products they need on the web, and it’s your job to get yourself in front of them so they’ll purchase those items from you.
Recommendation: Activate a comprehensive SEO plan that runs across all of your online properties and channels, including your website, eCommerce platform, digital flyers, advertising and more. [For more details on implementing a strong eCommerce SEO strategy, check out this blog post.] And be sure to optimize your online channels to target your most valuable audiences, while you’re at it; offering a superior customer experience will keep your top customers (or people you want to convert into customers) on your site and browsing through content longer, which can ultimately lead to larger basket size overall.
4. Take advantage of the latest and greatest consumer technology.
Augmented reality (AR, which uses your smartphone camera) and virtual reality (VR, which requires a headset) are increasingly commonplace tactics in just about every corner of the marketing world, and as such, the implementation costs for these types of interactive technologies have come down—making them far more accessible to grocery retailers looking to connect with consumers in fun and engaging ways. Moreover, consumers are buying in: Over 70 percent of buyers would be more loyal to brands who incorporate AR as part of the shopper experience, and 40 percent would be willing to pay more for a product if they could experience it through AR before purchasing it.
Recommendation: Make consumers feel like they’re part of the action, even going so far as experimenting with “disposable” AR marketing tools that consumers can access with their phones through your grocery circulars.
To build better engagement with your most valuable customers, first you’ve got to get their attention. This whitepaper can help: “Digital Marketing: Are Grocers Leveraging the Power of SEO and Data Analytics Tools?” Download it below!