Friday, January 30, 2009

Breaking Buzz: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Distributes its First Promotional E-Mail Alert Today; Has the Grocer Been Reading Fresh & Easy Buzz This Week?

Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market sent out its first e-mail promotional alert today to consumers who've signed up for the program, which Fresh & Easy Buzz was the first publication to report on in this December 22, 2008 piece [Marketing: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Launches E-Mail Promo Alert Program; Something Fresh & Easy Buzz First Suggested it Do Many Months Ago].

Fresh & Easy's first e-mail alert dated today, January 30, 2009, is a version of its current promotional flyer promoting food and beverage items for this Sunday's Super Bowl. We wrote about the paper, direct-mailed version of that flyer on Tuesday (January 27, 2009) in this piece [Tesco Fresh & Easy's 'New' Advertising Flyer: Minimalism Without Thought or Design Does Not A Retail Advertising Communications Piece Make].

The Fresh & Easy e-mail alert of its Super Bowl promotional flyer, well-timed just two days before the Super Bowl, contains some good prices on game-day food and beverage items, including the grocer's $5.99 mixed-meat grill pack, 24-packs of Coke and Diet Coke for $5.99 each, and an 18-pack of Tourino Beer for $6.99, along with a few other sale-priced beverage, snack and related items, and a few versions of its new 98-Cent Produce packs. Below is the e-mail alert:

From: Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market
Date sent: 01/30/2009 08:01:26 am
Subject: Check out our big savings for the big game.

Click here to view the promotional flyer contained in today's Fresh & Easy e-mail alert.

Did Tesco's Fresh & Easy read our January 27 piece?

The e-mail alert promotional flyer distributed to cyber-mailboxes today also contains an online version one of Fresh & Easy's discount store coupons. But it's not one of the grocery chain's normal $5 off (purchases of $20 or more) or $6 off (purchases of $30 or more) store coupons. Instead the coupon offered in the e-mail alert flyer today is one good for $10 off total purchases of $50 or more at Fresh & Easy markets. [View today's $10 off online coupon here.]

In addition, the $10 off coupon in today's e-mail alert flyer is good only for three days -- today, Saturday and Sunday, unlike the normally one, two and even three week shelf life the Fresh & Easy discount store coupons normally have.

In our story on Tuesday, January 27, we suggested two things Tesco's Fresh & Easy should experiment with regarding its store coupons. The first one is that instead of using just the $5 off purchases of $20 or more and the $6 off purchases of $30 or more deep-discount coupons, we suggested the retailer should offer store coupons that encourage higher shopper purchasing limits and offer lower percentage discounts. We specifically suggested Fresh & Easy should offer coupons good for $10 off purchases of $50 or more and coupons good for $25 off purchases of $100 or more. [The story linked above explains why we suggest doing this.] It appears the grocery chain is trying one of our suggested versions -- the $10 off purchases of $50 or more -- in the e-mail alert flyer/coupon distributed today.

Additionally, in that Tuesday piece, we suggested Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market also should play around more with the expiration dates of these coupons. We specifically suggested it take a page from the Sacramento, California-based Raley's supermarket chain and at times offer the $10 off and $25 off coupons with only a three day shelf life -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- just like the $10 off coupon it has in its e-mail alert flyer today.

E-mail alert deja vu

In this story we wrote and published way back in May, 2008, Fresh & Easy Buzz suggested Tesco's Fresh & Easy was missing out on a very powerful marketing and promotional tool by not having an e-mail alert type promotional system, like numerous other food and grocery chains have started offering in recent times.

Below (in italics) is a paragraph from our May 4, 2008 piece on the topic:

"Additionally, although we searched for it, we can't seem to find a function on the Fresh & Easy website in which a customer or potential customer can put in their email address and receive the online advertising circular in their email box like one can with Aldi. Adding this function is cheap to do, and Fresh & Easy is missing the boat by not having such a simple yet powerful tool on its website. [If there is such a feature, and we missed it, it means it's hard to find because we searched all over the site for it.]"[Read our complete May 4, 2008 story on the topic here.]

In December, 2008, as we reported here, Tesco's Fresh & Easy started asking consumers via its Web site to sign-up for just such an e-mail alert program, which they said would be coming soon. Today's promotional e-mail is the first alert the grocery chain has distributed that we are aware of.

Digital marketing and promo 2.0

Today's Super Bowl themed promotional e-mail alert flyer from Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market demonstrates the marketing power of such systems, just as we argued is the case in that May 4, 2008 story.

Unlike nearly all of its competitors, who run weekly advertising circulars, Fresh & Easy's paper and online ad flyer is good for three weeks at a time. This means that unlike its major competitors, Fresh & Easy can't offer as well-timed theme promotions in its flyers as they can.

For example, Safeway, Ralphs, Bashas, Fry's Albertsons and all the others major supermarket chains in Southern California, Nevada and Arizona used a Super Bowl theme in their weekly ads which broke two or three days ago, beginning either on Tuesday or Wednesday depending on the specific chain's ad schedule. Fresh & Easy had to use a Super Bowl theme more than two weeks ago when its ad flyer came out. Events like the Super Bowl don't become top-of- mind with consumers until the week leading up to the event, and don't really become top-of- mind in any real way until a couple days prior to the event, when all the media hype about Super Bowl Sunday is in full bloom.

Therefore, as a result of its good-for-three-weeks nature, the Fresh & Easy ad flyer is a stale media product compared to the weekly ad circulars its competitors use. But now, with the e-mail alert program, Fresh & Easy can turn that stale ad flyer in to a fresh baked and delivered version, at least from an online standpoint. If it wants to do the same with the paper version then it obviously needs to mail it out, timed to arrive in consumers' mailboxes today, which is regularly does with supplemental flyers to its once-every-three-week-distributed regular ad flyer. We suspect, but have yet to check and verify, that Fresh & Easy is sent out a paper version of the flyer to arrive at homes today.

But the online flyer is dirt cheap to distribute. And it can be re-distributed again for near-zero cost. For example, the promotional flyer e-mail alert sent today can be sent a second time on Saturday afternoon as a reminder to stock up for Super Bowl Sunday. And unlike with paper flyers -- which at this point in time do reach more consumers but likely won't a year or two from now when Fresh & Easy bulds-up a bigger e-mail alert data base -- the second e-mail alert doesn't cost any additional money (accept to pay an employee to click "send") to e-mail tomorrow, if the grocer chooses to do so. That's the power of digital/Internet-based marketing. And as Fresh & Easy gets more consumers to sign up for the e-mail alerts, that power will continue to multiple.


Anonymous said...

FYI.. The coupon expiration has been extended through the 4th, due to customer feedback. Store team members "should have" been briefed on this.
The $10 off $50 first showed up for American Express customers about a month or so ago. I was surprised when I saw them coming through stores. Also, although they say, must use AmEx as payment method, you don't actually have to.

Anonymous said...

We didn't get very many of the $10 off $50 coupons through our store in Arizona on Saturday and Sunday, but did get a number of the $6 off coupons from the earlier flyer. Better deal and all.