Supermarkets Shifting Ad Strategies to Meet Sales Goals

The printed weekly circular has long ruled as the tool of choice for supermarkets to lure shoppers through the doors. But as shoppers spend less time perusing the traditional newspaper, supermarkets are changing their ad strategies. Not surprisingly, these stores are placing greater emphasis on online tactics.

For now, most supermarket execs still give top scores to the weekly circular. In the following table, advertising channels that help stores meet their weekly sales objectives are shown in order of effectiveness (Notes that 1 = Best):

  • Printed Weekly Circular via Newspaper 1.64
  • Printed Weekly Circular via Shared Mail 2.07
  • Direct Mail (Solo) 2.54
  • Internet Display 4.12
  • Email 4.36
  • TV 4.43
  • Radio 4.55
  • Mobile/​Smartphone 5.5

To get around the declining newspaper subscriptions, more grocers are mailing circulars to consumers. This make sense because the marketers want a presence in the home when consumers are making their lists. But the grocery shopping process is undergoing a digital revolution. Over 2/3’s of surveyed decision-​makers believe that within 5 years, the social media/​online format will  be the leading way for stores to reach their goals.

The supermarket industry is also putting more effort into targeting specific types of shoppers and consumers who are embarking on different types of shopping trips. As a result, they are engaging in the following initiatives:

  • Ethnic marketing 65%
  • Shopping trip types 60%
  • Generation-​based marketing 35%

The Supermarket Media Usage Study was funded by Valassis and carried out by Stagnito Custom Media. Commenting on the findings, Therese Mulvey, Valassis Vice President, Marketing Intelligence, notes that the advertising challenge 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.”

[Source: The Supermarket Media Usage Study. Valassis​.com. 9 Jul. 2012. Web. 18 Jul. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.