NORTHLAKE, Ill. -- By targeting ethnic groups in separate versions of its weekly ad, Omni SuperStores here has propped up both promotional and everyday sales in the center store.
The chain achieved an average 200% "promotional lift" in unit sales and raised the average everyday unit sales base for all categories in aggregate by 13% to date since starting the ad program, according to Dave Kase, director of grocery purchasing for the 16-unit division of Dominick's Finer Foods, also based here.
The ad program targets African-American and Hispanic customers.
Kase discussed Omni's ethnic advertising program at a luncheon meeting of the Merchandising Executives Club of Chicago in Lombard, Ill., which drew an audience of more than 250.
Omni began the advertising program last August. It provides for three versions of its weekly ad: one for all stores, and one each for African-American and Hispanic customers. The two ethnic-oriented ads were geographically targeted at selected stores, he said.
"Many of our stores are continually drawing trade with multiple versions of our ad. This advertising presentation has armed our store teams with promotional support. We are merchandising the stores with massive displays. The results have been outstanding," Kase said.
The African-American version of the ad might include such items as okra, black pepper, a budget-priced muffin mix, hot sauce and/or smoked sausage. The Hispanic version might include rice, corn oil, pinto beans, pasta, burritos, tortillas and/or tomato sauce.
Kase reviewed the impact of
the advertising program on some categories, measuring average weekly unit sales, starting with 0% as the prepromotional base prior to the three-tiered program.
Oils, shortenings and spreads had a promotional lift of 551% in average weekly unit sales, and an increase of 31% in post-promotional base, or the everyday average weekly unit sales since last August. Canned vegetables and sauces and dried beans enjoyed a 250% promotional lift and 27% increase in post-promotional base.
Canned prepared food had a 426% promotional lift and 14% increase in post-promotional base. Rice, bread, pasta and boxed prepared foods had a 74% promotional lift and 17% increase in post-promotional base. Nectars and juices had a 350% promotional lift and 35% increase in post-promotional base. Baking mixes, grains and cereal had a 159% promotional lift and 3% increase in post-promotional base.
For miscellaneous grocery and nonfood, the promotional lift was 626% and the increase in post-promotional base was 17%, Kase said. For frozen and refrigerated products, the promotional lift was 248% and the increase in post-promotional base was 13%.
Asked about the variance by category in the promotional lifts, Kase said it depends on how mature Omni's penetration is in the particular category, whether the promotion was an ad or display, and how hot the promotional price was.
"We are not giving these items away. We maintain gross profit margin mix while realizing this promotional lift," Kase added.
The challenge to national suppliers is to use their brand expertise and share product profile, customer profile and household panel information to help the retailer reach his target consumer, he said.
He also urged manufacturers to prudently funnel specially allocated ethnic funds to the market, which can be used for advertising in print or electronic media that can be targeted to a specific ethnic group.