BROOKINGS, Ore. — Digital coupons may be all the rage, but traditional paper offers are having strong success in a pilot at C&K Market.
The coupons are credited for generating double-digit increases in total-store sales vs. same day last year at participating stores. One store even saw a 44% lift.
It's all part of a so-called “retro-marketing” promotion at C&K, which operates about 60 stores in Oregon and California. C&K uses the term to describe its new efforts using traditional marketing methods.
The promotion involves an 8×6-inch direct-mail booklet that contains 32 coupons. Four coupons can be used for each of eight weeks through April 28.
The booklets are an attempt to win back cash-strapped shoppers who have reduced or eliminated shopping trips at C&K's Ray's Food Place banner in favor of Wal-Mart, Winco and other discount retailers. To do so, they were sent to loyalty cardholders at Ray's Redmond, Ore., store and five other hard-hit units.
“We identified stores that are especially affected by the economy,” C&K's Center Store director Dan Cepeda told SN. “We want to get people to come back to Ray's.”
Savings for both national and private-label brands are included in the booklet. Among the offers: Swanson frozen dinners, 59 cents each; a 32-ounce bottle of Gatorade, 49 cents; and a 12-pack of 12-ounce cans of Western Family cola for 99 cents. Many offers have a one- or two-purchase limit.
C&K got the idea for the promotion during a meeting with consultant Harold Lloyd. While C&K executives expected the coupons to be well received, they were surprised that the sales lift was so high considering it's a pilot.
“One store manager commented that it seems like every other customer has the coupons in hand,” Cepeda noted.
Sales results show that the coupons are achieving what C&K set out to do: build its shopper base.
“It's drawing in more consumers, who are buying more food while in the store,” he said.
The coupon booklet has a magnet on the back so that homeowners can put it on their refrigerator for easy access.
“Many times, people will get a coupon and tear it out, but then forget about it,” he said. “We included a magnet so that it could be placed right on the refrigerator and remain visible.”
While Ray's is active in Internet coupons, and social media marketing via Facebook and Twitter, the coupon booklet shows that traditional promotional tools can still be effective.
“It's not a glitzy Internet promotion, but it's working,” he said.
C&K funded the majority of the promotion, but hopes to get more manufacturers involved in future efforts.