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Digital couponing on the rise with help of websites, social media

BY Michael Johnsen

MINNEAPOLIS Use of the World Wide Web to help drive trial is on the rise, according to a Kantar Media report released Wednesday. The number of digital coupon events increased by 84% over the first half of 2010 as compared with the year-ago period, according to Kantar Media’s website-tracking solution, Marx. Additionally, 200 manufacturers distributed digital coupon offers, an increase of 31.5%, compared with the 152 manufacturers that were active in the first half of 2009 across these key websites.

“Digital coupons complement traditional FSI coupons to reach the consumer in the home while they are actively making purchase decisions,” stated Mark Nesbitt, president Kantar Media Intelligence. “As more manufacturers distribute more digital coupons, it becomes increasingly critical to understand competitive digital promotion tactics to insure that events break through the clutter to deliver the right offer to the right consumer.”

One of the ways many suppliers are breaking through that clutter is through social media. “Manufacturers are blurring the lines between traditional FSI and digital promotion by developing integrated retailer and new product campaigns,“ said Dan Kitrell, VP account solutions at Marx. “In addition to moving coupons online, many leading CPG manufacturers are also including social media references in their FSI coupon creatives. Facebook is the primary social media being used, but Twitter is included in addition to Facebook in about half of the creatives analyzed,” he said. “In most cases, the social media icon is the only reference. However, some brands have developed programs to incent consumers to support social media websites including opportunities to download additional savings, join web clubs, and contribute to charities.”

Another trend — many digital couponing opportunities are being presented right on the retailer’s website. For example, on retailer websites monitored by Marx during the first half of 2010, there were 268 manufacturers running digital promotion events, Kantar reported, 25.8% more than the 213 manufacturers who participated in retailer promotion events in traditional print FSI vehicles during the same period.

“Manufacturers are distributing coupons on retailer websites to build purchase intent with the consumer and drive shopping trips for the retailer,” said Bob Cristofono, VP sales at Marx.

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Loblaw’s first small-model in-store pharmacy opens

BY Allison Cerra

BRAMPTON, Ontario Loblaw has opened its first small-model in-store pharmacy, offering the same amenities and convenience as a larger-size pharmacy, but in a compact area. The new pharmacy helps to fulfill the company’s vision to grow the number of pharmacies in its stores.

“Our goal is to provide convenience, quality and value to our customers. With this small model, we now have the ability to incorporate pharmacies into more of our stores, which will help complement our customers’ food shopping experience,” said Andrew Iacobucci, SVP drug business unit, Loblaw Cos. “Within this smaller footprint, we are pleased to be able to provide full pharmacy service with a highly trained and trusted pharmacy professional.”

The new small-scale pharmacy is approximately 400 sq. ft.

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Rite Aid gets into back-to-school groove

BY Allison Cerra

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid is helping customers save on back-to-school shopping through special offers, online coupons and its member-only Wellness+ customer rewards and discounts program.

The 4,800-store chain said that it has created a back-to-school shopping spread inside its August Single Check Rebate guide, a four-page pullout available online and in stores that contains more than 40 commonly requested school supplies worth more than $140 in rebate checks. Additionally, Rite Aid is utilizing its Video Values program at RiteAid.com, allowing consumers to watch videos and earn coupons on select products, which will feature a dozen back-to-school coupons in August.

The drug store chain also said many back-to-school discounts in Rite Aid circulars are available with the Rite Aid Wellness+ card. The Wellness+ customer rewards program provides members with free health-and-wellness benefits, as well as shopping discounts.

Items on sale include composition notebooks, snacks and more.

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