The Unbeatable Flyer
From the HGO Merchandiser
It’s no secret we live in a world that’s both exciting and challenging – especially for retailers. At a time when consumer tastes are changing dramatically on an almost day-to-day basis, furniture, mattress and major appliance retailers might be at a loss when it comes to choosing the appropriate medium to reach out to consumers. For years now, the debate has persisted: digital or print?
It might be tempting to think it’s time to transition entirely digital platforms – but retailer store owners and managers might want to hold off on ditching print advertising entirely.
Over the past decade in particular, both national and local major print publications have grappled with declining revenues and falling readership as tech-savvy consumers have chosen to consume media delivered on their smartphones, laptops and tablets. While this is a problem more specific to newspapers and magazines, retailers of all stripes have struggled to determine the best way to reach potential buyers and those who sell furniture, mattresses and major appliances are no different.
But while change is difficult and retailers have some tough decisions ahead, furniture aficionados who rely on the paper flyer (sometimes called the circular) can rest easy for now for according to discussions heard at the Retail Council of Canada’s (RCC) recent Retail Marketing Conference and Smart Flyer Forum events, the traditional flyer is still driving traffic and netting positive returns on investment (ROI) for retailers.
“Canadian shoppers have a love for value,” Lisa Orpen, vice president of national and multi-market sales for Metroland Media – which publishes some 110 community newspapers throughout Ontario – said at the RCC’s Smart Flyer Forum at the Delta Toronto Hotel. “We’re proud of finding a good deal at any income. This drives the behaviour we’re seeing when it comes to flyer and coupon usage.”
The Smart Flyer Forum, which welcomed speakers and participants from organisations such as BrandSpark International – the Toronto-based market research firm best known for organising the annual Canada’s Most Trusted Brands program – as well as retailers Walmart Canada, RONA and Leon’s Furniture, among others, invited everyone to weigh in on an age-old marketing tool that’s still driving customers into furniture and other stores.
What the forum revealed, however, was the flyer cannot and should not be relied on as the best and most effective marketing tool. It must have some kind of digital component and be paired with a range of other advertising methods and strategies – including digital and, when and where applicable, radio and television.
In other words, retailers are best to consider omni-channel marketing.
“We interviewed 1,300 shoppers and measured mobile, desktop, aggregated sites, print usage and more,” Orpen told her audience. “There are few shoppers that use any channel exclusively – 5% use digital only, 15% print only, 37% web and print and 28% use omni-channel.”
The talk shed light on some interesting numbers.
Across all retail segments – furniture, mattresses and major appliances included – the love affair with the flyer is still very pronounced. Attendees at the RCC forum were presented data that broke down the reasons why consumers still gravitate towards flyers: 19% are looking for deals; 34% are engaged with the brand; 26% are looking for utilitarian reasons; and, 21% are inspired by flyers.
The data also indicated furniture retailers enjoyed a flyer readership rate of 46% as of 2016. As far as the home improvement sector goes (which has ties to furniture, even though it’s not quite the same), data discussed at the forum revealed most people view flyers for utilitarian purposes. After that, people view them to be inspired. Beyond that, they consult them to find deals or out of engagement with the sector or brand.