Will retailers stop the presses on print circulars?
Walgreens reportedly ended its print circular last fall, Target last November and CVS at the close of 2021 as comfort with digital circulars and coupons has grown over the pandemic.
CVS told The Sun Chronicle in Attleboro, MA, that an abridged print circular would be available in stores, but newspaper inserts would cease. CVS said its customers ”were more digitally engaged than ever.”
Walgreens announced its shift to digital circulars last October at its Investor Day. John Standley, EVP and president, Walgreens, told analysts, “We are shifting investments from mass promotions to mass personalization. In the midst of the pandemic, we transitioned away from 18 million weekly print circulars to a digital circular that this month will be fully personalized to each individual customer.”
Digital circulars have been promoted for their ability to personalize content and target customers based on past purchases, gender, location and other factors.
Dick’s Sporting Goods said its shift to digital helped optimize pricing and promotions to boost margins. Speaking at an investor conference last week, CEO Lauren Hobart said, “We used to have blunt instruments in the newspaper, where pricing had to go down for eight pages of items or whatever it was, and you had to release that six weeks before. You had no idea what the market is going to bear or what inventory levels would be. We are now literally making day-to-day decisions.”
Retailers still produce circulars because it’s part of the shopping routine for many customers and the digitally-challenged, including many elderly shoppers who missed the digital shift.
One print circular believer is Bed Bath & Beyond, which found a shortage of print circulars due to paper supply and labor issues dragged down store traffic during the summer and early fall last year.
Mark Tritton, president and CEO, said on a quarterly call in early January that circulars contain the chain’s popular coupon, but it’s also “the connection point” for customers to explore the website and come into the store. “We artificially cut off that lifeline, that regular rhythm of communication to our customer. And it was a big mistake,” he said.
- Down to Business: As some advertisers move online, others stick with print – The Daily Gazette
- CVS flyers won’t appear in The Sun Chronicle in 2022 – The Sun Chronicle
- Walgreens Boots Alliance, inc (WBA) Investor Day – The Motley Fool
- DICK’S Sporting Goods Presentation at BofA Securities Consumer and Retail Technology Conference March 9, 2022 – Dick’s Sporting Goods
- How Personalized Digital Circulars Deliver More ROI for Retailers – Catalina
- Notice to readers: Target to cease inserts – Kingsport Times News
- Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) Q3 2021 Earnings Call Transcript – The Motley Fool
- Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Reports Third Quarter Results (Ending November 27, 2021) Delivering Strong Gross Margin Performance – Bed Bath & Beyond
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How relevant are print circulars as part of the shopping journey for most consumers today? Is there a way for retailers moving to digital to bring their customers along who are comfortable with print circulars?