Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fresh & Easy Buzz Redux: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Changes its Promotional Advertising Flyer to 'Weekly;' Something We've Been Suggesting For About A Year

Pictured at top is Tesco Fresh & Easy's new logo on its advertising flyer designating it as a "weekly" promotional piece. Pictured above are the top three feature items in Fresh & Easy's current (March 11-17, 2009) ,and now weekly, advertising flyer. Click here to view the advertising flyer.

Promotional Merchandising: Fresh & Easy's New Weekly Ad Flyer

Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has changed the frequency of its promotional advertising flyer from once every three weeks (and sometimes bi-weekly) to weekly, something Fresh & Easy Buzz first suggested about a year ago that the grocery and fresh foods chains needed to do.

Tesco's Fresh & Easy changed to the weekly advertising flyer program starting with its promotional piece last week, which ran from March 4 -to- March 10.

Previous to the change, the grocer issued a new ad flyer every three weeks, and on occassion every two weeks. Sometimes Fresh & Easy would issue one-page supplemental flyer between the three weeks intervals. However, those supplemental flyers were primarily vehicles for the retailer's $5-off and $6-off store coupons.

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market's second once-a-week advertising flyer is out today. It runs from March 11 -to- March 17, 2009.

[You can view the current March 11 -to- March 17 advertising flyer here.]

Fresh & Easy posts the now weekly promotional piece on its Web site, along with direct mailing a paper advertising flyer to residents in the neighborhoods surrounding its 115 grocery and fresh foods markets in Southern California, Bakersfield, California, Metropolitan Las Vegas, Nevada and Metro Phoenix, Arizona, where the stores are located.

Fresh & Easy Buzz has long suggested Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market go to a weekly advertising flyer for a number of reasons, including:

>It creates "fresh" deals. Three week old item promotions are as stale as three week old bread. Weekly allows for freshness.

>It allows for timely promotions. Once-a-week promotional item advertising flyers allow a food retailer to be timely. For example, the major promotional event for grocers this week is St. Patrick's Day. If Fresh & Easy hadn't changed to the once-a-week ad flyer program, it wouldn't be able to tie-in to St. Paddy's Day this week, which it is, and which virtually every food and grocery retailer in California, Nevada and Arizona is doing this week in their respective weekly advertising circulars or flyers.

>It's competitive. Every major competitor of Tesco's Fresh & Easy distributes a weekly ad flyer or circular. Most are much larger than Fresh & Easy's. Enough said. That's "no brainer" stuff. But it took Fresh & Easy 16 months to figure it out (the first stores opened in November, 2007), and the grocer did so about a full year after we first suggested it. We've been writing about the need for the grocery and fresh foods chain to go to a weekly ad flyeron a regular basis since then.

>It drives shoppers to the stores. Shoppers are used to shopping weekly item promotions in grocers' weekly advertising flyers or circulars. Since Fresh & Easy's ad flyerwas a three week or two week event, the grocer got left out of the weekly advertising circular comparisons done by shoppers. Therefore, Fresh & Easy didn't make it on the "stores to shop for deals at" list many shoppers (and more and more today) make each week when the weekly grocery store ads come out. Going to a weekly ad flyer program helps solve that serious ommission.

There are numerous other merchandising and marketing reasons for using a weekly advertising flyer -- particularly it you want to be a mainstream grocer like Tesco's Fresh & Easy states is its positioning -- rather than a once every two or three week promotional piece, in addition to the reasons we highlighted above.

Below is one of our most recent analysis pieces (January, 2009) about Fresh & Easy's advertising flyer. In it we again called for the grocery chain to go to a once-a-week ad flyer program. [Link: Tesco Fresh & Easy's 'New' Advertising Flyer: Minimalism Without Thought or Design Does Not A Retail Advertising Communications Piece Make]

Below is a piece from back in October, 2008, in which we suggested that, based on our analysis and experience, Fresh & Easy needs to go to a weekly advertising flyer program. [Link: 'The Promotional Pundit:' Fresh & Easy Buzz Analyzes, Offers Suggestions and Grades Tesco Fresh & Easy's Bi-Weekly Advertising Flier.]

Here's what we said in a paragraph in that piece six months ago:

"We do suggest the grocery chain go from an every three weeks or fortnightly (one flier every two weeks) to a weekly ad flier. It's the norm in U.S. food and grocery retailing. Especially for those chains that aspire to the "big time." It also creates more excitement in the stores -- more in-and out deals, ect." [Historically the Fresh & Easy direct-mail paper fliers have come out every two -to- three weeks. The online versions every three weeks. Our comments about liking the flier design were about the original Fresh & Easy designed flier, before they changed it to the plain white paper version, which as we mentioned above has now been upscaled a bit, adding color, and getting better."]

Below are a few more links to past stories in Fresh & Easy Buzz in which we suggested Tesco's Fresh & Easy change to a weekly ad flyer-circular, along with related analysis:

>May 4, 2008: Aldi USA, the Fastest-Growing Small-Format Grocer in the U.S. Promotes Everything But the Kitchen Sink (and Maybe That's Next) In its Weekly Store Ads

>November 24, 2008: A Single Bird in the Ad (Even Wrapped in Bacon and Sage) Does Not Make For A Good Thanksgiving Promotion For A Neighborhood Grocer For 'Everybody'

>October 1, 2008: 'The Promotional Pundit:' Fresh & Easy Buzz Analyzes, Offers Suggestions and Grades Tesco Fresh & Easy's Bi-Weekly Advertising Flyer

>September 4, 2008: News & Analysis: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Launches New Direct Mail Promo Piece Full of $5-Off Discount Coupons; Is it Taking Deep-Discounting Too Far?

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?

>March 2, 2009: Fresh & Easy Buzz Redux: Much of the Value Proposition-Based Analysis and Suggestions We've Been Offering Now Being Adopted By Tesco's Fresh & Easy

>June 8, 2008: June 8, 2008: Las Vegas Region Market Report: Signs of Recession in Usually Immune Las Vegas; Why Isn't Tesco's Fresh & Easy Touting its 'Value Proposition'?

>June 18, 2008: June 18, 2008: Tesco's Fresh & Easy and it's 'Value Proposition:' We Asked, They Answered; Discussion, Deconstruction and Fresh & Easy Buzz Analysis

>November 12, 2008: Analysis: Hard Times at Fresh & Easy - Northern California Expansion to Be Postponed or Shelved Do to Economy; But its Only a Symptom Not the Cause

>February 2, 2009: Competitor News: Safeway Stores, Inc. Enters the Store Coupon Derby in Southern CA, Nevada, Arizona; Part of Extending its 'Value Proposition'

>December 22, 2008: Marketing: Tesco's Fresh & Easy Launches E-Mail Promo Alert Program; Something Fresh & Easy Buzz First Suggested it Do Many Months Ago

Store traffic will grow at Fresh & Easy

It's taken Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market way too long to change to a weekly advertising flyer program. Rapid response after all is key in the highly competitive grocery retailing business. Over a year is far from rapid.

But Fresh & Easy has made the change, which shows its willing to listen and course correct -- eventually. That's a positive sign.

And since, as we reported and wrote about in this piece [Fresh & Easy Buzz Redux: Much of the Value Proposition-Based Analysis and Suggestions We've Been Offering Now Being Adopted By Tesco's Fresh & Easy.], Fresh & Easy is beginning to adopt some elements of the "value proposition" positioning prescription we started suggesting it needs to focus on about one year ago (and have elaborated on since), going to a weekly advertising flyer program is an essential aspect of that value-based focus and positioning; so the change is therefore not only essential but smart for the grocer.

As we've written frequently in our analysis on the value proposition, one key element of making it work is communication, and frequent merchandising and marketing communications.

A once-a-week promotional advertising flyer is an important tool, among the many in the marketing and communications toolbox, to achieve this comprehensive and frequent communication we talk about regarding the "value proposition" and related goals.

Tesco's Fresh & Easy will soon start seeing some increased store traffic merely by virtue of the fact it has increased the frequency of its advertising flyer to weekly.

Of course, It will take a little time, but the new frequency, combined with offering hotter promotional price points in the now weekly ad pieces, will put more shoes on the floors in the Fresh & Easy stores.

But keep in mind, doing so is only one element of a comprehensive format positioning, merchandising, marketing, retail operations and communications focus and program around the "value proposition."

For example, if Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is really smart, it will implement the seven retail operations changes listed in this piece [Analysis & Commentary: The Seven Retail Operations Changes Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Needs to Make to Help it Get On the Success Track] which we wrote and published on March 7. [Related links to the March 7 piece: Consumer Use and Retailer Redemption of Manufacturers' Coupons Soaring Says Leading Redemption Company in the U.S.; But Not at Tesco's Fresh & Easy. And: Google & Yahoo - The Tale of the Search Engines: An Analysis of How Tesco's Fresh & Easy is Losing Out By Not Accepting Manufacturers' Grocery Coupons.]

Why? Just as changing and going to a weekly rather than bi-weekly or every three week advertising flyer program is important because it will bring more shoppers into the stores, so to are making the seven retail operations changes equally (or perhaps even more so) important. They are designed to bring more shoppers into the Fresh & Easy stores -- more shoes on the stores' floors'. Even more importantly, they are also designed to bring in shoppers who won't shop the Fresh & Easy stores regardless of how often it runs advertising flyers, or how hot the ad-item price points in the advertising flyers are.

Plus, the "value proposition" is all about the whole, rather than the sum of its parts, as we've been arguing for some time in Fresh & Easy Buzz. The seven retail operations changes are part of that whole.


Anonymous said...

F&E ran the same NY Steak item last week at the same price point. Now that they are going to a weekly will need to be much more on the ball in terms of item selection, turnaround time. It's easy to pick ad items every three weeks. Not so easy weekly. Wonder if they got hung on the NY Steaks, or just couldn't come up with a new meat item? Not sure NY's, even at $3.99 makes much sense in this economy.

Anonymous said...

The steak is a good price, although it is select grade not choice. Choice New York steaks can be had on ad for 30-40 cents more at many supermarkets. The yogurt and beer are regularly advertised at Ralphs, Stater Bros., Safeway for the same price.