If you Google “weekly grocer ads,” you will see online links to ads from virtually all of your area’s major grocers. Why?  Why do grocers continue to encourage the concept of a weekly promotional shopping tool? The simple reason is, it’s what they have always done, and they know its what consumers are used to seeing.

The deeper reason is they know that American consumers are naturally hard-wired to look for a deal before making a purchase. For years, grocery stores have relied on marketing’s holy trinity: Location, Quality, and Price. The basic premise being, if you can show shoppers that you have a great selection, you are easy and convenient to shop, AND offer competitive pricing, then they will shop with you. It’s a time-tested formula for growth that continues to work today.

Now pretend for a moment that a meteor just crashed into your city, or an earthquake just opened up the ground. Then  all bets are off. Everything changes; you and your shoppers shift to emergency panic mode. What used to be important doesn’t matter now. The only thing that does matter is that you find what you need. That’s what happened a year ago with COVID. The landscape instantly changed, and nothing was normal.

The Human Spirit Always Finds a Way Back

Fast forward 12 months, and even though we have been through one of the worst calamities of our generation, we are slowly finding our way back to normal. It happens every time, the human spirit always finds a way back even after the most challenging circumstances.

Although we are working our way back, there will be lasting impacts from what we have just gone through. One of those impacts is increased prices. Food prices, along with many other things, are on the rise. And with little reason to believe it’s a short-term problem, shoppers are returning to their old patterns of looking for deals. You see it in your stores every day; how else do you explain the explosion in private labeled sales? There is a renewed shift back to value-seeking.

So, as long you continue posting your promotional items online, you should be OK, right?

That might be true if all grocers limited their advertising to online only. But that’s just not the case right now. Today we have major chains who recall the lessons of past economic upheavals and have resumed their print advertising programs with much success. Both Kroger (the largest supermarket chain in the nation) and Albertsons/Safeway resumed the distribution of printed circulars back in 2020. They continue to reach consumers today with multiple pages of promotional items.

Human psychology confirms that most people will generally seek the path of least resistance. Even though there may be dozens of weekly store ads available to us online, we will usually make decisions based on the two or three delivered to us in a printed form each week. The old adage of “out of sight out of mind” couldn’t be more accurate. If you are not included in the mix of ads the consumer sees, you greatly reduce the odds of being included in their shopping decision.

We understand that all grocers saw huge increases in their top-line revenue in 2020. Call it the COVID Effect. But as we enter into 2021, what are your plans to match those numbers? Here is an interesting quote from Kroger’s year-end earnings report:

“Kroger delivered strong results during our fourth quarter and full-year 2020: We continue to gain market share, and full-year results were above the guidance we shared with you last quarter.” Kroger Chairman and CEO, Rodney McMullen said.

Here are some comments from Albertson’s CEO, Vivek Sankaran, on a recent earnings call:

“We continued to gain significant market share within both fuel and food in both dollars and units and experienced strong growth across geographies, regardless of the level of COVID restrictions in place.”

What’s happening to your market share? Grocers utilizing print as part of a multi-channel ad campaign are growing market share at their competitors’ expense.

You may not have thousands of locations like Kroger and Albertsons, but you can share the same marketing strategy as these giants by combining print and digital advertising to retain your market share and grow your sales.

Value-conscious shoppers are going to be with us for a long time. The competition for all shoppers is going to heat up. You can’t rely on the COVID Effect going forward. You will need a way to move the needle in 2021 and beyond. Digital alone is not enough. There is a reason the largest grocers in the country continue running print ads, Print Works. And it can work for you in 2021.

Happy to Help.

Please reach out today; we would love to have a conversation on how an integrated print and digital campaign can increase shoppers, blunt the competition, and positively impact your bottom line. Call us toll-free at 866-434-4986 or click here to contact us.