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Circulars Spur Most Traffic

Newspaper circulars may generate more store traffic than all other advertising mediums, especially within the CE channel, a new study suggests.

According to the 2004 Spring RSCORE Retail Advertising Benchmarking Study, produced by ad agency Meridian Inc., here, newspaper circulars tend to have the strongest impact on generating interest in store visitation, particularly for CE, office supply, drugstore and mass merchant chains.

The results, based on online interviews this spring with the primary shopper in over 1,300 households, also show that circulars have stronger recall than TV, radio, online, print, direct mail and outdoor ads, with recall percentages typically in the 60 percent to 70 percent range. Recall jumps to 70 percent to 75 percent for circulars from consumer electronics retailers, topped only by the drug store channel, where recall ranges as high as 84 percent.

Moreover, among shoppers who recall a retailer’s newspaper circular, items seen in the circulars are triggering purchase intent for roughly 40 percent to 60 percent of respondents, Meridian says.

Television advertising comes in second in influencing store visits and in overall ad recall. Recall of TV commercials ranges between 40 percent and 70 percent but falls to 43 percent to 56 percent for CE spots.

Meridian attributes circulars’ greater efficacy to consumer behavior and the self-selected nature of the medium. “It’s a pull medium, not a push medium,” marketing director Ann Mazure told TWICE, “and consumers have established a structured procedure in using them.”

The agency specializes in circular ads but didn’t massage the data to arrive at its findings, Mazure said, noting that consumers’ high use of and responsiveness to the medium is well-accepted within the advertising and retail communities.

Separately, the RSCORE study also found that the CE channel tied with toy chains for second place in overall shopper satisfaction (as measured by merchandise, store environment and staff), just behind warehouse clubs and just ahead of mass merchant, office supply and home improvement stores. A key factor influencing store satisfaction and choice within the CE channel is in-store signage that makes it easy to locate items of interest, respondents said.