Is the free Thanksgiving turkey promotion played out?

Discussion
Nov 30, 2015

According to a survey from Precima, the data analytics division of LoyaltyOne, only 27 percent of Millennials find receiving a free turkey around the Thanksgiving holiday "important" versus 66 percent of Gen X shoppers.

The overall nationwide survey of 1,201 American shoppers taken in October found only 24 percent saw a free turkey" as "very important," coming behind the 40 percent who reported preferring savings off purchases on each shopping trip. Ninety percent planned on preparing a traditional turkey meal.

The survey found that shoppers are increasingly fickle when it comes to their grocery store loyalty, placing a higher emphasis on price and quality, and looking for more personalized offers.

Free turkey ads

Sources: HyVee, ShopRite, Albertsons

Other findings from the survey:

  • Two-thirds reported price and quality are very important to them when selecting a store for holiday shopping;
  • Sixty-four percent reported being loyal to an existing retailer. Ninety percent of the same respondents, however, say they either strongly agree or agree with the statement that they are open to visiting other grocery stores based on their promotions and incentives;
  • Forty percent preferred receiving discounts on purchases over loyalty program points or a gift basket;
  • More than 80 percent wanted promotions tailored to their needs, with 47 percent reporting relevant offers increase their loyalty. This finding was especially true among Millennials, 88 percent, compared to 75 percent of Boomers;
  • Two-thirds of the shoppers participating in existing loyalty programs report never receiving follow-up post-holiday offers or say they received offers that weren’t relevant.

Precima said the study underscored how the analysis of data collected from holiday promotions can help create more relevant offers.

"There are great opportunities that retailers are missing with the free turkey and similar promotions," said Graeme McVie, general manager and VP of business development for Precima. "It’s important that retailers don’t send the same offers to all generations and that they target and personalize their marketing and merchandising investments to meet the specific needs of their most valuable and loyal customers."

Do you think traditional free turkey promotions remain effective for grocers? How may overall holiday promotions have to be rethought to more effectively convert “occasional shoppers” into more frequent shoppers longer term?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Innovation matters. If a particular grocer sees lackluster response from any promotion, then they need to be agile and adjust. If this promo still works for their desired outcomes, then keep going for it until it finally loses steam."
"Does any shopper have a preference for high prices and low quality? Also, the reference to shopper loyalty makes no sense. Shoppers can be loyal to their family, country, church, etc. However, we have this concept backwards."
"As someone who has fought the battle over Thanksgiving turkeys for 50 years, it is a no-win proposition for retailers who are in a struggling economy. I do not get into the madness of losing a fortune on turkeys anymore."

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9 Comments on "Is the free Thanksgiving turkey promotion played out?"


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Tom Redd
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Well, it works at getting people into the stores. The bird that they select may not be the cheap, free one. Now for me it worked — I rang each of my 10 birds as a single item transaction and got them at 78 cents per pound. Birds at went to St. Mary’s. We did a new bird, not a butterball, and tried the brine process. Worked great on a fresh, non-flavor injected bird. Need to ease off the salt in the brine mix. For brine tips just drop me a note!

So in the end the bird promo is a puller but be ready to switch the shoppers to a non-discounted health bird.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

Innovation matters. If a particular grocer sees lackluster response from any promotion, then they need to be agile and adjust. If this promo still works for their desired outcomes, then keep going for it until it finally loses steam.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

As noted, free turkeys work for one target market but not for all. I find some of the findings intuitive, e.g., two-thirds reporting price and quality as very important to them. Does any shopper have a preference for high prices and low quality?

Also, the reference to shopper loyalty makes no sense. Shoppers can be loyal to their family, country, church, etc. However, we have this concept backwards. Instead, retailers need to be loyal to their customers. How? By delivering on their promises. These promises must reflect the needs and wants of their selected target markets. Use the data collected from the frequent shopper programs and tailor offerings accordingly. It is not that complicated!

Tony Orlando
Guest
6 years 5 months ago
As someone who has fought the battle over Thanksgiving turkeys for 50 years, it is a no-win proposition for retailers who are in a struggling economy. I have built up my fresh turkey sales over the years, but with a 50 cent wholesale increase this year in fresh turkeys sales were soft here, as they went to frozen to save money. I do not get into the madness of losing a fortune on turkeys anymore, and losing 3,000-4,000 that week as a markdown cannot be made up on other stuff anymore, as every store sells baking supplies and other holiday non-perishables that we used to count on for extra sales. Even our deli, which makes everything homemade for Thanksgiving, struggled with pre-orders, and ended up on a down note from last year, as consumers’ pocketbooks are running thin. Overall a straight hot deal works, and the big box stores will win this battle, as they can absorb the markdowns. So for me, anyway, I’ll keep pushing the all-natural fresh each year and sell the frozen… Read more »
Ben Ball
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

How many Millennials prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner? That would be a more informative piece of data.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

I find these results surprising, namely that any more than a small (i.e. single digit) percentage of people ever received a free turkey, so I don’t get the very high percentages seeing it as important. Other than that, the results seem like a tribute to common sense. People want promos that are tailored rather than generalized. Gee, who’d have thought?

Naomi K. Shapiro
Guest
Naomi K. Shapiro
6 years 5 months ago

The survey made me feel sad.

Tony Orlando’s response made me feel sad.

Tony is down in the trenches so to speak, where reality reigns.

The most significant data was more than 80 percent wanted promotions tailored to their needs, with 47 percent reporting relevant offers increase their loyalty. This finding was especially true among Millennials, 88 percent, compared to 75 percent of Boomers.

Referring to relevant offers and targeting the right markets, why not ask them what they want — and see if you can get truth in their responses? If they would like overall discounts for their spending, as opposed to a free (or very inexpensively priced) turkey, would this be feasible to give them, Tony?

Gordon Arnold
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

With margins being crushed for almost a decade, the costs for providing free any thing must be spread out over a much larger receipt total for consumer qualifications or retailers can run the risk of running the promotion with higher store prices. The math for either equation didn’t seem to amount to much this year. Even with the announcement of short supplies due to the fatal epidemic to a large portion of the inventory population the only shortages I saw was the consumers themselves. In short, product giveaways, at this investment scale, in the home(s) of the lowest guaranteed price may need to be revised with something like a can of cranberry relish or simply removed from the promotions list.

Matt Talbot
Guest
6 years 5 months ago

I think that free turkey promotions will remain relevant to the majority of consumers. In general, the younger demographics will probably not find turkey promotions as important, because it is unlikely these younger generations are the ones providing the turkey.

Brands and manufacturers will be forced to add creative spins to marketing and retail promotions in order to beat competition. This will continue to become more important with the rise of younger tech-savvy generations.

I think that one of the largest deterrents to buying Thanksgiving food and ingredients is the crowds and long lines. If grocery stores and food retailers could manage crowds effectively and mediate the madness, certain stores may fair better. Given that 90% of “loyal” customers are willing to visit another store based on promotions, Thanksgiving is a great time to create a new customer base with the use of relevant advertising.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Innovation matters. If a particular grocer sees lackluster response from any promotion, then they need to be agile and adjust. If this promo still works for their desired outcomes, then keep going for it until it finally loses steam."
"Does any shopper have a preference for high prices and low quality? Also, the reference to shopper loyalty makes no sense. Shoppers can be loyal to their family, country, church, etc. However, we have this concept backwards."
"As someone who has fought the battle over Thanksgiving turkeys for 50 years, it is a no-win proposition for retailers who are in a struggling economy. I do not get into the madness of losing a fortune on turkeys anymore."

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