Paper as King, Digital as Queen

The grocery business is a business built on a mound of paper.

Signs in the store, weekly newspaper ads and of course, the very important weekly flyer are all foundations of our business.  We can’t forget about coupons – all of that paper is redeemed, settled and accounted for.

With all this paper at the foundation of our business, the shift to digital is methodical and careful.  We are slowly implementing digital ways of getting the word out.

Case in point: the weekend sale.

In the last twelve months my colleagues in our retail department have been experimenting with weekend sales, including time limited early bird sales.  How do we get the word out about these special in-store events? Not so long ago it would have been newspaper ads. Full stop.

Now we use all our digital assets to share the message as well. Custom images on our website, a message to our email newsletter database, and (of course) social media.

Sounds simple, but for these flash sales it was not in the initial plan to share this info digitally.   The first flash sale was a huge hit – some of our stores had trouble keeping up with the crowds!

Or business will change as digital innovation continues to shape shopping behaviours.  Have you seen the new Canadian app called Checkout 51 (pictured)?  It’s the simplest digital coupon app I’ve come across – you snap a photo of your receipt and if the items that you bought are on their coupon list, you save money.  Once you’ve saved $20 in your savings ‘account’, they’ll send you a cheque. Love that – I can’t wait to try it!

Does digital media change the way you shop? I can honestly say I’ve made purchases as a direct result of email campaigns – both in-store and online.

What about you?


Sarah Roberts

Sarah Marlayne Roberts is a public relations and digital media strategist based in Victoria, BC. She has extensive marketing, social media, public relations, and special events experience from her work in television (CTV Television, Canadian Idol, Juno Awards, The Bachelor Canada) and with some of Canada’s most vibrant brands including The Edmonton Oilers, the legendary Hudson’s Bay Company and now, Thrifty Foods. Her focus at Thrifty Foods is on the company’s digital presence including the web and social channels, working to reflect the in-store experience online. In her spare (?!) time, Sarah also blogs about pop culture and other stuff you shouldn’t live without at STUFF by Sarah and works with small business clients on maximizing their online presence.

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