Why Print Is Proving To Be The Secret Weapon In The Supermarket War

Why Print Is Proving To Be The Secret Weapon In The Supermarket War
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In this analysis piece, Australasian Catalogue Association CEO Kellie Northwood (pictured below) looks at how Coles, Woolworths and ALDI are capitalising on the power of print to stake their claim in the supermarket world.

Kellie Northwood

Supermarket giants are known for their success in catalogue marketing. They have perfected the art of supplying consumers with a large product range and take-notice sales, offering value, service, and quality every week.

Due to the success of this channel, supermarkets have expanded their print marketing strategy, tapping into the world of magalogues (a catalogue and magazine hybrid), and producing product specific catalogues to communicate with consumers.

Nearly eight million Australians read a supermarket catalogue every week, and out of those, more than half (5.4 million) made a purchase from a catalogue in the last seven weeks.

Supermarket retailers capitalise on the strong reach and readership of catalogues to reinforce brand equity and entice consumers in store, yet what are customers looking for when they read a catalogue?

Sales are the main priority for many grocery buyers, as they spend on average $182.24 a week on their food shop, according to Roy Morgan Research. Of them, 65 per cent consider low prices a top five factor when choosing their supermarket, and 47 per cent go out of their way in search of a bargain.

The Coles, Woolworths and ALDI battle to be Australia’s top supermarket is fierce, and ensuring each brand communicates its point of difference is key.

Coles is staying present in the minds of customers beyond their weekly catalogue through their self-titled magalogue. The Coles publication features hero products to make cooking and the consumers’ shopping experience easier.

The company understands their readers and are aware that not everyone has the time to create healthy, tasty recipes. To assist their time-poor customer, Coles has included the ‘Trolley Dash’ section featuring easy to make recipes with a strict budget consciousness for families.

An increased focus from Coles on its audience motivations is proving to be a clever content marketing switch for its magalogue, as readers spend on average 8 per cent more each week than people who don’t read the title.

The publication and its engagement add value to the Coles brand, positioning it as a friend, sharing food tips in a relaxed language normally saved for friends and family.

Woolworths has operated in this space for a while and held strong catalogue marketing for some time. Linking their magalogue and weekly catalogue together is building connectivity across multiple platforms.

Woolworths’ Fresh magalogue provides more depth to their brand beyond the products on offer.

An educational element is filtered throughout the magalogue with expert opinions from credible chefs and insights into the behind the scenes growing process of fresh food – a strong alignment with Woolworths’ ‘Fresh Food People’ brand positioner.

With a circulation of 1.5 million per month, Fresh is delivering for Woolworths as 91 per cent of readers make a purchase after reading the magalogue.

Fresh is used as a platform to educate consumers and offer more value to their shopping experience, building brand loyalty, whilst the catalogue links the celebrity chefs and tips reinforcing the weekly dialogue and touchpoints.

Supermarket giants aren’t limiting themselves to the traditional weekly tabloid catalogue, now building catalogues specific to new target markets.

Woolworths’ Pet Owner range, Coles’ Beauty book and the strongest performer, ALDI’s SKI catalogue, are demonstrating how the medium is being re-worked for success.

ALDI’s May 2016 SKI catalogue aimed towards ski enthusiasts looking for high-quality gear at affordable prices.

The catalogue’s objective was to raise consumer awareness of ALDI’s increased product range, and it worked. Last ski season, ALDI became the number one retailer of ski gear in Australia during the campaign.

In this competitive sector, the 2017 Canstar Blue survey revealed ALDI may well be batting above its weight, receiving a four-star rating and beating out the competition Coles and Woolworths which both received three stars.

A sector which was once dominated by Coles and Woolworths, they are now having to fight even harder to gain the title of best retailer in Australia, as the underdog has taken their place.

With Canstar Blue reporting 39 per cent of consumers do all their shopping with the same supermarket chain, frequent catalogue campaigning is key.

With value for money being the strongest customer satisfactory driver at 29 per cent, weekly catalogues highlighting value and brand credentials is critical.

With support from magalogues reinforcing brand identity and recall triggers, the ‘in-home’ readership of print with strong content is delivering strong ROI.

Retailers in the supermarket sector are using the power of print to fuel the battle for best supermarket, proving time and time again its success in capturing consumers’ attention.

Through print – whether it being catalogue, custom publications or general product brochures – companies are able to promote their brand and their products in a content-rich and meaningful manner.

Coles, Woolworths and ALDI are the leaders is working these channels to achieve strong outcomes, and the savviest retail marketer will take note and apply to their sector without hesitation.

This article is a collaboration between B&T and the Australasian Catalogue Association.

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