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BizReport : Advertising archives : October 01, 2009

Engage consumers with online circulars

Newspaper subscriptions may be down, but there is one area where newspapers still rule: circulars and coupon offers. Sunday newspapers and Sunday inserts, along with penny-savers, are some of the most-read when it comes to newspapers. Now online marketers have the ability to engage consumers with online circulars.

by Kristina Knight

Hearst Magazines Digital Media is one of the first to take circulars online; they've partnered with ShopLocal SmartCircular, integrating the circular into's sales and stores channel. This transforms print circulars into online circulars, giving retailers the ability to offer weekly savings opportunities. The circulars can be personalized by shoppers so that only offers they are interested in will be sent; consumers can also share their circulars with friends, potentially pushing even more traffic to online stores.

The Hearst partnership is set up specifically for Target stores and offers a digital version of the traditional paper circular. Consumers can sort and filter circular information into categories such as electronics, baby or home and then add the products/offers they are interested in to a weekly shopping list.

"Consumers and retailers are increasingly taking advantage of the Internet not only for online transactions, but to drive in-store traffic. Forrester estimates that research online and buy offline (ROBO) shopping will influence $1 trillion in spending, or half of all retail sales, by 2012," said Vikram Sharma, CEO of ShopLocal. "ShopLocal's SmartCircular is a natural step in the shopping process and the last mile to purchasing, by influencing consumer choice of stores to shop and driving sales both online and in the store."

A recent study from MORI Research shows that although newspaper readership/subscriptions are dropping, consumers are still looking for specific information from newspapers. Researchers found that more than 80% of consumers are still clipping coupons in newspapers and are also buying products, visiting websites and even trying new products based on newspaper adverts.

Tags: circular, Hearst Magazines,, MORI Research, newspaper advertising, online circular, ShopLocal

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