Trade media is one of the most cost-effective ways to ensure your brand’s messages reach independent convenience retailers. The challenge for suppliers is to select the right titles and the right format that match what you want to achieve.

The nature of sending print titles direct to stores ensures that the medium remains a powerful and disruptive vehicle. It is likely most retailers receive most of the free titles on the market and will flick through them in between serving customers.

However, with more retailers active now on social media to build their own local following, brands have an opportunity to engage on these channels if done in the right way.

In this final part of our series from MTJ PR’s Retail Excellence Panel, we reveal the changing ways retailers are using trade press.

  1. Be part of the conversations that retailers care about

While getting your launches and category advice covered by trade press is important, the main topics that retailers want to read about are some of the more challenging, sector-wide topics.

Business rates, rising costs, retail crime – while these topics may not match your strategic goals, being part of these conversations can help you build trust and provide retailers with support that they genuinely need.

Gail Watling Tidings“I only read Retail Express and Convenience Store,” said Gail Watling, owner of Tidings Newsagents in Norwich, Norfolk. “I’ll have a look through and if anything catches my eye, I’ll scan it. But the big thing I’m interested in reading in-depth about at the moment is how stores are coping with electricity bills.”

  1. Land region-specific messages

For your messages to be effective, they must reflect the different challenges retailers face depending on where their store is located.

Natalie Lightfoot Londis Solo ConvenienceFor example, in Scotland, retailers face unique challenges with stricter alcohol licensing and the incoming Deposit Return Scheme on single-use drinks containers. “I tend to read Scottish Local Retailer and Scottish Grocer,” said Natalie Lightfoot of Londis Solo Convenience in Glasgow. “I struggle with a lot of the other trade press because it’s heavily weighted towards England. That said, I do like reading store profiles wherever the retailer is located.”

  1. Embrace digital trade media

 All retailers on the call stated that they now engage with trade media online as much or more than in print. The fact suppliers need to be engaging with retailers on social media is hardly worth stating in 2022, but there are some online formats that could present opportunities.

Sophie Towers Kibble Bank One Stop“If something comes through on email or on Twitter, I’ll click into it,” said Sophie Towers of Kibble Bank One Stop in Burnley, Lancashire. “I'd like a retail podcast. I’d listen to it while I do my orders. I think there’s a gap for a retailer’s podcast. We’re the only ones who will tell it like it is.”

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