Grocers Launch Interactive e-Circulars

Delhaize America’s Food Lion, Hannaford Bros. and Sweetbay Supermarket have implemented Houston-based adplex’s interactive online circular program, adplex VirtualStore. The Web-based circular is designed to increase grocers’ sales and customer loyalty.

“This gives us a direct way to communicate one-on-one with our customers, unlike anything we’ve been able to do through traditional marketing methods,” said David Palmer, director of loyalty marketing, Food Lion.

Key program elements include searchable weekly specials, streaming how-to videos, an online shopping-list manager and a searchable recipe program. The interactive site creates a community of consumers who “opt-in” to receive information and services.

“VirtualStore gives customers an instant-value, instant-gratification loyalty program because retailers can provide offers tailored to each customer’s unique interests, desires and needs,” said Galen Walters, CEO, adplex.

“Historically, one-to-one marketing has been expensive, time-consuming and cumbersome. VirtualStore is revolutionary because, for the first time, the most effective form of advertising is also the most economical, easy to implement and efficient,” he said.

Food Lion anticipates that the electronic tool will increase loyalty. “We will be able to create customer-specific offers based on their unique interests and shopping habits. Our goal is to create a Web-based experience that is more enjoyable and relevant to our customers, and keeps them coming back,” Palmer said.

Another retailer, Canadian Tire Retail, Toronto, which operates 465 stores throughout Canada, already has had 10 years of success with eFlyer, its own interactive online circular program.

The internally produced eFlyer is a tailored offering of the company’s weekly print flyer, but is targeted to customers based on their product and gift interests. The online circular is sent to more than 1 million Canadian subscribers each week.

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