Leaflets still have a role to play

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An age-old debate among convenience retailers is how effective leaflets can be to a store. While the majority of stores don’t send out leaflets, the retailers who do believe they have a positive effect on attracting customers, writes HIM’s Cameron Thorp. To make the most out of them, it is important for retailers to target the right types of shoppers while including the information shoppers want to hear about to ultimately help drive footfall.

Our latest research shows that, despite all of the technology at their fingertips, surprisingly it’s younger shoppers who respond most positively to leaflets and, while couples with young children are less likely to receive leaflets than other life stage groups, they are the most likely to be encouraged to visit a store (61%) once receiving them. Retailers who are aware of a high concentration of young shoppers and couples with young children in their area should be focusing on utilising leaflets to target these groups effectively.

However, simply distributing leaflets for the sake of it will not drive sales; getting the content of the leaflet right is crucial. Our research tells us that while most shoppers want to hear about promotions (66%), there is also demand to find out about loyalty schemes and news or events.
That said, leaflets won’t be the best form of communication for every retailer. Raaj Chandarana, a member of the HIM retail panel, explained: “Retailers are split on [the] success of leaflets. We deliver 1,000 [leaflets per month] and still get people coming in circling products and asking for them. A balance of social media and traditional leaflets ensures a greater hit success.”

In a world where shoppers are using social media to get inspiration for meals and find out about brand innovations, it is important for retailers to increase their online presence. Why not communicate with shoppers who would otherwise miss out on leaflets by experimenting with these mediums?
While leaflets clearly have a positive impact on shoppers, it is important to consider whether they have a future in the physical form. As retailers seek to reduce costs and improve their green credentials, digital leaflets and emails could eventually replace their paper counterparts.

Readers' comments (1)

  • It’s quite clear that the jury is out on whether the leaflets in an increasingly fragmented market with social media and online shopping playing a major role has the same impact it did a few years ago. At the end of the day, it’s all about driving footfall and I believe the return on this form of advertising is questionable. The vast majority of leaflets are delivered with all the other junk mail and goes straight in the bin simply because the shopping habit of little and often has taken over from large family “shops”. I also believe that the suppliers are not seeing the uplift that they once enjoyed through this form of advertising. The shops that enjoy footfall are more to do with the quality of offers and the level of service they provide instore than their advertising budget. That to me is more crucial than spending disproportionate time and money on acres of the printed stuff. However flagging instore offers is still important.

    Arjan Mehr Londis Bracknell

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