While our industry has been using flyers for decades, the traditional bag of newsprint on the doorstep has plenty of detractors. From consumers who don’t want “junk mail” to retailers and suppliers that are starting to see paper flyers as an expensive tactical tool with a diminishing rate of return –the paper flyer may be on its last leg. Increasingly flyers are transforming to the digital space on the laptops and mobile devices that are the centre of our attention for most of our waking hours.
But, the digitalization of flyers is taking a new turn as companies use technology in a way to attract customers to buy the latest offerings. Companies like Toronto-based Wishabi are giving consumers interactive and customized flyers all together in one place.
Wishabi has been working with many prominent retailers including Walmart, Target, Overwaitea, Giant Tiger, Calgary Co-op and Hudson’s Bay. The company is also working with a number of clients in the U.S.
Wishabi has created Flyertown, which it uses to organize flyers into email lists. Companies usually only have access to their own customer distribution lists, so Flyertown creates a wider audience for digital flyers. The company also uses mobile apps and digital media networks MSN and PostMedia to expand its distribution.
Lisa Gorchinski, marketing director at Calgary Co-op said that Wishabi was a good fit for the grocery store because “They take our digital flyer and extend the reach of it beyond those who are directly seeking it from our sites.”
Wehuns Tan, CEO of Wishabi, claims that consumers are spending up to 20 times longer on Wishabi flyers compared to competitors. Features such as storyboard formats, rapid browsing, easy-reading, videos, highlighted discounts and shopping lists are attracting and retaining consumers. Also, companies are able to collect digital data through online clicks.
The company’s digital flyers are less expensive than traditional paper flyers. Tan says the cost of digital flyers is approximately one-tenth of print flyers. Clients pay on the scale of the actual number of customers that click and open a flyer and actively scroll through the flyer for 6 seconds.
As attractive as the benefits are, Tan says that companies are not eliminating paper flyers at this point. Instead, they are supplementing digital flyers with paper flyers.
Wishabi recently launched Flipp, a free mobile app that compiles flyers together to allow customers to search for deals and create shopping lists.
Some companies like Sport Chek are also making headway with digital flyers and technological advertising. In March 2013, the company stopped producing paper flyers for a few weeks to test out marketing strictly from facebook over the same period.
The results were impressive. Overall, sales increased 12 per cent and sales of featured items increased 23 per cent over last year’s sales. The company has directed 15 to 20 percent of its advertising budget into digital media over the last few years.
Duncan Fulton, head of marketing at FGL Sports, which operates Sport Chek, said that his company discovered that approximately 17 per cent of its customers actually read the paper flyers.
It was also revealed that the company spends approximately $20 million per year on printed flyers.
In 2013, Sport Chek opened a digital store in uptown Toronto that features 140 screens running 70 channels. Customers are able to pick up running shoes and view information displayed on screen as they turn the shoe.
In December 2013, Canadian Tire Corp. launched a shoppable video that featured digital tags on the screen, which consumers could click to view and purchase items on screen.
Mr. Fulton said his company wants to be a world leader in digitizing retail and “We will, throughout 2014, continue to expand shoppable video.” He said, “It’s such an obvious platform to drive brand and drive sales.”
The digital revolution is well underway and all companies will be able to jump on board as new technologies become more commonplace and readily available. In this way, companies will be poised to respond to how consumers are using technology through iPhones, tablets, facebook, twitter, YouTube and other digital mediums.