Wal-Mart’s Newspaper Circular Gets A Digital Facelift

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 214 views 

Wal-Mart’s age-old weekly circular tab insert in newspapers is being revamped into a digital catalog format that will have less focus on price and product and more on the retailer’s commitment to helping its customers “live better, everyday,” according to Steve Bratspies, executive vice president of food at Walmart U.S.

Bratspies recently told Wal-Mart suppliers that the technology facilitating digital and physical integrations will be a big part of how Wal-Mart markets products. That starts with the weekly circular, and it may not be a change the newspaper industry will appreciate.

“The normal tab we send out every weekend, we are changing how we do that. For one thing, we will be doing it less frequently,” Bratspies said.

The new version, which Bratspies said has been relabeled “EDLP Catalog,” is more focused on delivering the retailer’s core promise of saving money and living better.

“It is going to be integrated in the technological world. Everything is going to be connected with digital partnerships and digital content so that you make the connection
of product to the online world and back and forth much more seamlessly than you have been able to do in the past,” he said.

Continuing, he told the suppliers: “That is what the customer is asking for, that’s what they are demanding actually. We can’t just live in a physical world or a digital world, the two have to work together. When you get at the intersection of the two, that’s where one plus one equals four. We are spending a lot of time figuring out what is the best way for us to do this.”

Wal-Mart used the Memorial Day holiday to launch the digital revamp which is available online with live links. The mobile version is available as a tab inside the Walmart Stores app but the live links are not active in the mobile application.

The expanded digital version of the circular has 24 pages laid out in a magazine style with a focus on lifestyle imagery and lighter exposure on products and prices. The retailer hits the main theme on the first page of the digital magazine. The theme continues in the photos and text content within the 24-page piece.

Page two features avocados, limes and Tostitos with a recipe for guacamole front and center. Wal-Mart said incorporation for the featured recipes were gleaned from Pinterest and are there to engage digital integration for pre-and post-shopping behaviors. There is also a link that plays a video from an avocado farmer that shows the best way to select avocados for peak ripeness as well as the best way to cut into the fruit.

The circular also places roughly half the number of products per page in previous tabs which averaged 10 to 15 items. Wal-Mart also shows packaged food in its final prepared form such as Oscar Meyer wieners which are identified on “Rollback” at $1.50 per pack. Wal-Mart includes the pre-Rollback price at $2.50 so the customer understands the savings.

Also visible in the new format is more skin with a model wearing a two-piece Catalina swimwear bikini. In this section, the retailer provides tips for choosing and applying sunscreen as well help for those consumers looking for summer beauty tips.

The new format also features a “Projects” page for do-it-yourself enthusiasts. Gardeners get planting guidelines for a lush garden and tips for the best curb appeal. Other design tips, which can be accessed online, include space planning for backyards and patios.

Analysts who reviewed the document said the page is another take on value-added content integration. It provides shoppers with a problem-solution approach relevant to the theme and products. They said it’s important for Wal-Mart to sell itself to consumers as a solution provider and providing content with products in a digital format is a step forward. The related online content is one way Wal-Mart can help drive customers to their brand.

Wal-Mart uses the final page of the circular to profile one of the veterans it has hired as part of is commitment made two years ago. They also highlighted patriotic items such as flags and other decorations using the space to reinforce their mission to hire veterans.