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Catalina My Favorite Deals

If you’re a serious couponer who likes to plan ahead, you probably follow a blog or two that offer a sneak peek of your favorite store’s weekly circular, a few days early. But now, your own store may give you a preview, up to a full week in advance, of the sales in the upcoming ad that are most likely to appeal to you.

It’s part of Catalina Marketing’s new “My Favorite Deals” program. Catalina is best known for providing the coupons that print out at the register, at grocery stores and other retailers nationwide. Now it’s working to provide you with a mini-sales circular, too.

Along with the coupons that print out at the register, My Favorite Deals will consist of a printed list of five items in the next week’s circular, that it thinks are most relevant to you. So, similar to the way the Catalina coupons themselves are printed based on your purchases and preferences, My Favorite Deals is designed to alert you to upcoming deals that are of interest to you.

“My Favorite Deals delights customers by cutting through the clutter of hundreds of irrelevant advertised items to call out what’s really important to each shopper,” Catalina U.S. President Todd Morris said in a statement.

The initiative comes a year and a half after Catalina released a report, in which it found that two-thirds of grocery shoppers didn’t buy a single item advertised in the weekly circular. Only 17% bought five or more sale items.

If you’re one of those 17%, it may seem hard to believe that the vast majority of shoppers don’t know or care what’s on sale each week. That’s led some retailers to consider throwing in the towel, and doing away with printed weekly circulars altogether.

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So My Favorite Deals is meant to appeal to those shoppers who can’t be bothered to look through an entire ad, to find what might be of interest to them. “This is more valuable to me, because it almost forces me to look at it, because it’s handed to me at the time of purchase, instead of being caught up in the junk mail,” one shopper said in a My Favorite Deals promotional video. “It’s shorter, it’s more concise, it’s smaller, it’s easier to hold onto,” another shopper said. “This is better than a circular.”

The catch, is that not every item in the upcoming circular is included in the My Favorite Deals database. Brands can choose – or pay – to participate, just as they pay to provide Catalina coupons or to have their product appear in the circular to begin with. So the “personalized” list of items that prints out, will not necessarily be precisely what you’d like to buy, but what retailers and manufacturers believe they are most likely to be able to sell to you.

Either way, so far, it appears to be working. Catalina has been testing the program regionally, with Rite Aid and another unnamed retailer. And it reports that participating stores have seen an increase of up to 5% in sales of promoted items.

“One-size-fits-all ad circulars are not the most effective way to maximize sales lift and shopper loyalty, especially at a time of rampant decline in newspaper circulation and readership,” Morris said.

My Favorite Deals will now be available to the 28,000 U.S. retailers that already provide Catalina coupons. So if you’re not good at keeping up with your stores’ sales circulars, now you can get a little help. And if you do follow the sales, at least you’ll get a sneak peek at a handful of upcoming deals, and a few days’ jump on your favorite coupon blogs.

Catalina is billing My Favorite Deals as one of “a series of upcoming innovations” focused on bringing “cutting-edge” capabilities to retailers. Its introduction comes a couple of years after Catalina ditched its Coupon Network print-at-home coupon program, in favor of a more digital focus that included the purchase of the Cellfire digital coupon platform.

So if My Favorite Deals doesn’t exactly revolutionize your shopping habits, just wait. Something even more cutting edge might be right around the corner.

Just as long as those Catalina coupons keep on coming.

One Comment

  1. Lenier Naquin says:

    I don’t know why retailers are saying people aren’t using coupons. I know better. Maybe if it wasn’t such a hassle to use them in the store we would use rthem more. I belong to several Facebook groups for couponers and I KNOW they all love to use coupons. Also there are people who do “extreme couponing”. I don’t think coupon use is dying.

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