Stop & Shop Layers Digital onto Circular Strategy

Jacqueline Barba
Associate Editor, Path to Purchase Institute
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As the future of traditional circulars continues to evolve in an increasingly digital retail environment, Ahold Delhaize’s Stop & Shop has been testing a different type of “digital circular,” using targeted, mobile web and in-app ads to promote weekly top deals and provide product recommendations.

The grocer is trialing Catalina Marketing's Digital Circular Personalizer (Digital CircP), which the shopper intelligence firm recently rolled out across its retailer ecosystem. The offering taps Catalina’s database of shopper history and other “personalization capabilities” to target its retail partner’s current and potential shoppers and highlight the top five items on sale that week that are most likely to spark their interest. The ads also use geo-location data, appearing on popular websites such as, and 

Utilizing multiple calls-to-action, Stop & Shop’s recent Digital CircP ads have invited shoppers to click on:

  • a “Shop Online” button for a more extensive list of unique item recommendations and deals,
  • a “Save to Wallet” button to save the deals to their mobile wallets for easy reference and to trigger reminder notifications like “Open to see your deals at Stop & Shop,” and
  • a “Find a Store” button to trigger location-based reminders to encourage shopping at stores they may not normally visit.
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"Reaching shoppers digitally is such a huge objective for our organization," Rachel Stephens, vice president of marketing, digital and loyalty at Stop & Shop, told the Path to Purchase Institute. "When our digital agency Amp first approached us about Catalina’s Digital CircP offering, we were incredibly excited about the opportunity to reach more customers, directly influence shoppers for increased trips and really realize incremental sales."

Even as it explores new opportunities to reach shoppers, Stop & Shop is certainly not closing the door on print circulars altogether. “Paper circulars still have a very important role to play in our marketing efforts, particularly communicating special offers to shoppers who may not have access to the internet or may be less comfortable in a digital environment," Stephens said.

“Circular strategy can be limited,” Stephens said. “Print is very expensive, so we really see Digital CircP as an important complement to the paper circular. Digital circulars and distribution through digital media helps us optimize our reach of both current and prospective customers, wherever they are on their daily journey with highly individualized offers.”

She added: “We’re happy we’re seeing a corresponding lift in sales and trips, and return on ad spend associated with Digital CircP because expansion of reach is so important and optimizing your marketing budget is a challenge all marketers are facing right now.”

Similarly, Quotient Technology recently introduced its own spin on the digital circular by launching a “promotion amplification tool" that combines retailer point-of-sale and loyalty card data with weekly retailer temporary price reduction feeds to target and automate digital media ads to a specific audience at a specific time. Ahold Delhaize USA’s digital, e-commerce and commercial engine, Peapod Digital Labs, teamed with Quotient to become the first grocer to offer the new promotion amplification tool through its retail media platform, AD Retail Media (powered by Quotient), as part of the vendor’s retailer performance media platform.