Coles catalogue goes digital, letterbox delivery ditched

Supermarket giant Coles has announced that from September 9 it will no longer print and deliver its weekly catalogue to Australian letterboxes as the retailer pursues an enhanced digital communication strategy.

Under the new digital plan, Coles has launched coles&co which can be accessed through the website with a significantly reduced volume of weekly catalogues to be printed for in-store purposes.

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain says the decision to shift to digital comes as customers increasingly want up to the minute pricing on goods with a growing trend of customers shopping daily. An increasing number of shoppers purchasing online due to COVID-19 had also sparked a 50 per cent rise in engagement with the digital catalogue, he said.

Letterboxes across the country will no longer receive the printed Coles catalogue from September 9.

“We are living at a time of unprecedented societal change, including a surge in the diversity of consumer tastes and dietary needs. As customers add more fresh food to their diet they’re shopping more often, and their appetite for immediacy and digital information means a weekly, one-size-fits-all, catalogue in the letterbox is no longer as relevant for them as it once was,” Cain said.

“We’re using our digital capabilities to replace it with something more personalised. As we add new features, this could include recipes that change daily rather than weekly, as well as tailored content on food and drink trends.”

Coles has also said the decision to go digital is about reducing the retailer’s reliance

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain

on paper.

“We will be investing more in digital content and capability for customers and suppliers, as well as better value by lowering the cost of breakfast, lunch and dinner, and improving our sustainability by reducing our reliance on paper.”

IVE Group is understood to hold the printing contract with Coles and CEO Matt Aitken has been contacted for comment.

The Real Media Collective has long argued about the sustainability of paper and the effectiveness of a printed catalogue on actually making customers more likely to purchase a product at the cash register.

TRMC’s CEO Kellie Northwood said Coles’ environment claim is disingenuous.

“The claim that Coles will save environment, when replacing print with digital, is simply disingenuous,” Northwood told Sprinter.

“For every Coles customer spending 60 seconds browsing a digital catalogue, they will emit 12g of CO2 compared to looking at a printed catalogue for a day and only emitting 0.5g of CO2.

“Made from a renewable resource, using bio-diverse and planted forestry principles, all powered by hydro-electricity during the paper making process– paper carries the highest environmental credentials over e-waste and CO2 powered digital streaming.”

Cain said the decision to cease printing the catalogue would save 10,000 tonnes of paper – an estimated 80,000 trees every year.

“Since 2000 we have delivered around 200 billion pages of weekly catalogues to letterboxes across Australia,” Cain said.

“We’re committed to being Australia’s most sustainable supermarket, and reducing our reliance on paper by prioritising digital channels like coles&co is a significant step towards that goal.

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15 thoughts on “Coles catalogue goes digital, letterbox delivery ditched

  1. Dear Mr Cain,
    Much more important to reduce the use of plastics in your business, that would make a significant change to the world.

  2. Shame on Coles hiding behind saving Paper and Trees when its clearly COST.
    The Print and Paper Industry should challenge and call out Coles for misinformation and Fake News.
    Woollies will follow with the same story…….
    Strongest challenge from the Industry to Coles CEO for this disappointing and untrue
    Why cant Corporate Australia just tell the truth and not hide behind Sustainability shields.

    1. Will be interesting! If they start losing sales from the catalogue – they will be desperate to return – but may have killed off some presses in the meantime. Will the capacity still be there?

  3. Who shops daily? Only those who take risks and maybe those customers already disappointed by online failures.
    If this digital trial works like their current price check system it will be all roads heading to Woolworths, IGA and Harris Farm

  4. This would effect thousands of families nationwide that rely on the money they make from delivering catalogues.

  5. I shop daily and I think most people do at my local Coles, dont really see the big shopper.
    If they want to be seen as responsible I dont think they should be trying to upsell or cross sell on alcohol, but I suppose it all comes down to money. I’m sure they make plenty of money on alcohol sales.
    Sad time for lots of businesses (not just print) this covid-19, its a kick in the guts.

  6. Very poor, its all about costs and profit, NOT the SHOPPER or the environment .
    It gives the retailer the ability to PRICE DAILY enabling them to MAXIMIZE PROFIT and RETURN to their SHAREHOLDERS in the current environment of unprecedented demand due to the Covid19 pandemic.
    The knock on effect to employment in this industry will be immense, its already suffering badly and this cynical move is just another nail.
    Its not about the shopper at all.
    Its also not about the environment either.
    If there is a worry about trees, follow the Visy lead and use part or wholly recycled paper.

  7. What a great environmentally responsible decision – now we can plant 80,000 LESS trees because we don’t require them for paper production. – 80,000 less trees that won’t be there to absorb carbon from the atmosphere – 80,000 less trees for oxygen production – 80,000 less trees all doing this for the next 10 years or so – yep, I am so glad we have such great industry leaders preaching to the masses about there green credentials – yet go to any supermarket and there is plastic everywhere ………… makes you wonder.

  8. Dear Mr Cain,
    Your not saving trees…those trees were planted there to form a sustainable forest…you have been ill advised…most sustainable supermarket…when are the next Coles mini’s going to be out…they are great for the environment…

  9. Hi Mr Cain,
    Wow big call to stop printing catalogues in Australia, why don’t you keep printing them in China as you currently do with your Coles Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton books for your recent promotions. Oh better still make the catalogues from plastic as you do with the Coles mini’s another overseas supplier. Don’t bank on any Families that work in the Proud Australian Printing Industry buying any products from Coles in the future, my wife averages around $300 a week buying supermarket groceries, no longer at Coles and we are just one of many families suffering during Covid and Coles excusing themselves due to the Environment as an excuse to save money. Good luck and let me know how this corporate greed works for you in 3 Months when your sales are down. All Print Industry mates and colleagues send them a message and don’t use COLES!!

    1. Well said Andy….I’ve said the same to about 100 people today, but there is always tomorrow – plus the flow on from word of mouth. What about the plastic shopping bags printed in Malaysia ? Have a look under the seam at the base of the bag !
      Gotta go….I’m off to Aldi mate.

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