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Customers Still Hungry for Circulars, Grocers Find

Customers Still Hungry for Circulars, Grocers Find . / Credit: Weekly circular image via Shutterstock

In spite of the increased influence of social media and the digital world, most grocers still rely on the tried-and-true weekly circular to keep their cash registers ringing, a new survey shows. The reason is simple — they still work.  But while they are the promotion of choice today, grocery retailers expect their promotion tactics will change within the next five years because of shifts in marketing and media.

Nine out of 10 grocery retailers said that they use weekly circulars as their promotion of choice, according to a study of 60 leading grocery decision-makers representing approximately 50 national and independent grocers and chains. The study was sponsored by Valassis, a media and marketing services company.

The results from using circulars validate the choice, the survey found, with three out of four grocers citing overall increased results. More specifically, 50 percent of grocers cited increased sales and 25 percent listed increased customer retention.

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Grocers are adapting their media tactics as a result of the decline in paid newspaper circulation, decreasing the amount of their newspaper-distributed circulars while increasing their usage of mail-delivered and online promotions.

They are also developing targeting and distribution strategies for their circulars through a combination of internal sales data and consumer insights,  with 90 percent saying customers plan differently by trip type — 82 percent believe consumers are making more decisions at home than three years ago. Two-thirds of respondents also indicated they expect that social media/Internet will be a more significant component of their media plans within five years. Sixty-five percent of respondents expect that over the course of the next five years, social media/Internet will be the medium of choice for grocers to meet sales goals.

Grocers are also addressing the changing consumer demographic landscape. Nearly two-thirds of grocers (65 percent) have ethnic marketing initiatives, while 60 percent are tailoring their marketing to address varying shopping trip types and 35 percent have generationally based initiatives.

"The consumer decision-making journey is more involved than ever," said Therese Mulvey, the Valassis vice presidentof marketing intelligence. "Media preferences are changing, due in great part to consumers' desire to be connected. It is no longer a 'how we use print versus digital' question. It is a 'how do we best optimize our marketing dollars to maximize the ROI on both.'"

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Ned Smith
Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.