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Food Forum: Where Traditional Meets Digital

Retailers must learn how to engage shoppers based on their actual preferences and behaviors.


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Dramatic changes are occurring in the grocery, drugstore and mass retailer landscape. Many consumers today are shopping at multiple retailers, looking for a greater sense of community and seeking a wider range of services from their retailers. They also have constant access to product details and sale information—in both physical and digital forms—when looking to make brand choices for themselves and their families. 

Shoppers now live in an And World of choice; retailers and brands must learn how to engage them based on their actual preferences and behaviors, both at checkout and all along the buyer’s journey.  

For many retailers and brands, this means that it is not business as usual. They too are living in an And World. Newspapers are no longer a mass medium as year-over-year readership and revenue declines continue. It is a new reality that has not gone unnoticed. While retailers and brands are reducing spend in newspapers to promote weekly ads, there is not enough digital inventory available to offset the newspaper decline. According to the Newspaper Association of America, newspaper print ad revenue in 2014 was just $16.4 billion (inflation adjusted), down from a high of $67 billion in 2000 but digital revenue only added back $3.4 billion. However, the digital experiences (with content, ads and offers) consumers encounter everyday has taught them to expect more relevant and personalized engagements. So what is the industry to do?

To meaningfully drive sales lift and loyalty, personalized engagement needs to reach every shopper with messages and offers that matter most to that household. While consumers may look alike demographically, when it comes right down to it, no two shoppers are alike. Traditional, one-size-fits-all promotions are relevant to only a tiny fraction of today’s consumers.  

Relevance and value are the cornerstones of successful shopper engagement today—and tomorrow. It is not only critical that retailers and brands demonstrate value, but that they personalize that experience by bringing the right offers, coupons and deals to the right shoppers, and in whatever channels the consumer chooses to engage. At a time of unparalleled choice in the grocery store, Catalina research has shown that shoppers today ignore all but a tiny fraction of available UPCs and buy just a sliver of the available products on store shelves. On average, they buy just 0.7 percent of the available UPCs in a store during an entire year. In fact, roughly 80 percent of a brand’s volume is driven by just two percent of shoppers. 

There must be more relevant and effective ways in an And World to reach consumers around the products and brands that matter to them. What if a retailer could deliver the most relevant ad offers from next week’s circular to each of their shoppers? What if the personalization could extend to the way the shopper chooses to engage with the retailer (in-store, online or via mobile)?

It is a big change in thinking about the way a traditional circular works but personalization perfectly marries the needs of the consumer, the needs of a retailer and the brand. While the weekly circular is a staple of how most retailers advertise, it is missing that critical element of personalization—the effort required to flip page-by-page to find relevant offers and ads sits squarely on the shoulders of the shopper. 

Catalina’s My Favorite Deals aids in motivating shoppers to plan their return trip by providing them with the five most relevant ads from next week’s circular via an announcement print that is handed to them at checkout or by highlighting the five most relevant offers currently on sale when a shopper is using digital tools and services to plan their shop in the moment. Only Catalina can aid in revolutionizing the marketing performance of circulars for the And World in which personalization can break through for the consumer, and drive volume and efficiency for retailers and brands.     

 

Courtney Acuff is vice president, insights and design at Catalina. She can be reached at corpmktg@catalina.com.

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