Le Journal du Net – Initiatives to make up for the end of paper leaflets
Retailers such as Leclerc and Monoprix have already announced that they will no longer distribute paper catalogs. Digital solutions are taking over, whether to build loyalty or acquire new customers.
Leclerc will no longer be distributing paper catalogs in letterboxes from September 2023. Cora France has been doing the same since January 10, 2023, and Monoprix since 2019. “We also reduced and then stopped our in-store printing at the end of 2021. For us, there was an environmental and societal issue at stake. We preferred to develop a digital platform with personalized offers to be as close as possible to the customer,” explains Sandrine Sainson, customer experience director at Monoprix. At the same time, the French Ministry of Ecological Transition launched the Oui Pub experiment in September 2022 for three years: in 14 French local authorities, consumers who wish to receive leaflets must affix a Oui Pub sticker to their letterboxes, in contrast to the Stop Pub scheme, which has offered the option of refusing advertising since 2004.
A favorable climate for digital
For Laurent Landel, CEO of Bonial France, an application offering geolocated retailer catalogs and promotions, “Oui Pub is unavoidable because of strong consumer pressure. The concerns of the French are the environment and purchasing power. The problem with paper leaflets is that 80% of those printed are never opened, so the best waste is the waste we don’t produce. Retail specialist Olivier Dauvers did the math in December 2022 in Libourne, one of the Oui Pub trial areas. Only 15% of mailboxes were displaying the sticker, and 33% in some neighborhoods, which is still too few for the distribution of paper leaflets to remain profitable.
This context encourages digital alternatives, with 66% of retailers saying they are ready for a nationwide Oui Pub, according to a study conducted by Bonial and LSA among 218 decision-makers between September 19 and October 14, 2022. 8 out of 10 want to switch all or part of their paper budgets to digital, while the price of paper has almost doubled in 1 year. “They have worked out their transition plans. To achieve the same readership rates as with paper, for example, for 100,000 catalogs distributed to 20% of readers, I need to reach 20,000 people with my digital flyer”, judges Laurent Landel. To compensate for the absence of paper catalogs, a real media mix is being put in place. “With digital, we’re reaching far fewer people, so we need to increase conversion rates tenfold. In fact, ultra-personalization is very important”, adds Romain Charles, CEO of Lucky Cart , a company that offers promotions on the e-commerce and drive-through sites of major food retailers.
A digital catalog
Since it stopped distributing paper leaflets, Monoprix has been stocking up on tools: “We’ve developed our multi-channel communications stack with various solutions. We’re constantly optimizing to give as many people as possible access to our promotions”, says Sandrine Sainson. To digitize its catalogs, Monoprix turned to RelevanC, an independent Casino Group entity specializing in digital marketing. “When we talk about digitizing the paper catalog, there are three solutions: abandon this communication scheme, work on publishing a more or less interactive PDF, or adopt the codes of e-commerce with a product that delivers weekly promotions based on my store and with a personalization brick”, explains Dine Rabehi, Managing Director of RelevanC.
Promotions that Monoprix would have featured in a paper catalog are now available on the chain’s website and app. “With purchase data, we derive a behavior and attach it to a customer category, which enables us to personalize promotions according to that customer’s consumption habits. Through our back office, we restructure all the store’s promotional data and make it available to the various media. The back office will feed all communication channels”, explains Dine Rabehi in detail. The platform is already in talks to offer its services to retailers outside the Casino group.
Loyal customers and prospects
At Monoprix, this digitalization solution first reaches customers who are members of the loyalty program and use the application. Newsletters and push notifications then bring another part of the customer base to the site. For prospects, “we have a media strategy to bring promotions to their attention, using social networks and programmatic advertising”, continues Sandrine Sainson. For Laurent Landel, in detail, “first there are loyal customers who are reached via WhatsApp or by e-mail with newsletters. Then applications such as Bonial increase the number of consumers reached, followed by media buys on Meta, Google, PQR, billboards or radio. Digital brings in qualified contacts”.
Finer targeting thanks to AI
Where paper catalogs were widely distributed, digital solutions bring precision and personalization. “Retailers will entrust us with budgets to interest consumers in their offer over a ten-day period. On Facebook, the algorithm needs time to target correctly, whereas a promotion doesn’t last. We work in real time, so we understand what consumers want. We know which offers are interesting depending on the context, the weather, and we adapt the offers we push,” explains Laurent Landel.
At Lucky Cart, we use data from 20 billion receipts: “We clean them with our algorithms and then make the link between a connection identifier and a previous purchase to push promotions. We integrate with retailers’ sites and applications to communicate in real time with their contacts. We push personalized campaigns and banners on our customers’ sites”, says Romain Charles.
The right message at the right time
The Notify platform specializes in sending the right message at the right time to the right channel. For CEO Ous Ouzzani, “activations have become white noise for customers. If there is no dialogue, after 3 years the customer is removed from the database. The retailer will have to reacquire a customer it already had in its database, which is more expensive than building loyalty”. Notify aggregates data on click-through rates, open rates and consumer browsing data to determine customer availability. “We cross these with open data such as the weather. Our algorithm will determine the right place, the right time and the right channel to communicate with a customer,” explains Ous Ouzzani. With Notify, the message is not sent to the whole base at once, but the platform predicts the time of week when the customer will be most willing to receive it, and on the right channel. Just as it’s important to limit the distribution of paper catalogs, “it’s also CSR to limit the number of digital mailings”, concludes Ous Ouzzani.