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Walmart Canada gets into the magazine game, too


Walmart is joining the flurry of retailers in Canada with magazines by launching its own periodical.

The first issue of Walmart Live Better magazine will hit Walmart Supercentres next April and the magazine will also be available to readers on the web, smartphones and tablet computers.

The magazine will focus on consumer lifestyles and be aimed at moms.

“This magazine makes a lot of sense for us,” said Emma Fox, chief marketing officer for Walmart. “Walmart Canada is a shopping destination for 89 per cent of moms in Canada, and 20 million people visit our Supercentres every month. Through the Walmart Live Better magazine we can share information that adds value for our customers.”

Walmart Live Better will offer practical information, tips and inspiring ideas focused on food, home, health, beauty and fashion, according to the retailer.

Food will be a primary focus in the magazine, said Rosalyn Carneiro, Walmart's public relations manager. "The food-related content in the magazine will be about one-third, including the front cover."

The print edition will be published six times a year, and will have an interactive iPad edition as well.

Content will also be housed on a dedicated microsite accessible through and augmented by a weekly e-newsletter, monthly e-blast and social media presence.

One million copies will be distributed free at Walmart Supercentres across English Canada, with plans to expand into the French market by next year.

Working with Walmart on the magazine is Rogers Media, publisher of Canadian Grocer as well as consumer titles such as Chatelaine, Flare and Today’s Parent.

“This represents a groundbreaking collaboration between Canada’s fastest-growing retailer and Rogers Media, and we’re thrilled to be part of a high-quality multiplatform content solution that is on-brand and on-strategy for Walmart,” said Jacqueline Loch, vice-president of content solutions at Rogers Media.

The collaboration follows a similar launch in April of Fresh Juice from TC Media and Loblaw. Fresh Juice is also available as a print publication and in digital format (six issues per year), along with website, and e-newsletter and social media presence.

A distribution relationship with Loblaw Companies Limited guaranteed that 325,000 of the 425,000 copies per issue would be mailed to Loblaw's most loyal customers.

At the time of Fresh Juice's launch, Uwe Stueckmann, senior vice-president of marketing at Loblaw said that “Fresh Juice allows us to connect with our loyal customers on a new educational and inspirational level,"  and added the retailer was "providing unique health and recipe content, and clever ideas to further improve consumer's health and wellness and their overall shopping experience."

Queen's School of Business marketing professor Ken Wong said that Kraft really started on this drive for content driven marketing with its magazine What's Cooking.

Today, a host of retailers, from Canadian Tire and Shoppers Drug Mart to Sobeys and Longo's, produce in-store magazines, usually touting their own products and, in the case of grocers, seasonal recipes.

What magazines offer to retailers and suppliers is content, not branded content per se, and in the case of Walmart and Loblaw's announcements, both are multi-media, said Wong. "Content can be multipurpose online and in print."

The challenge for all of these magazines is to be unbiased, said Wong. "If not, it won't come across as being genuine to today's consumers." For example, in Canadian Tire's magazine, most of the advice isn't specific to a brand.

In the U.K., in-store grocery retailer magazines are widely available.

They have become a great tool to engage shoppers, inspire them with meal solutions and recipe ideas and showcase new products, including private label lines, said Stewart Samuel, of IGD, a global grocery and food industry research firm.

Waitrose Food Illustrated is one the U.K.'s grocery magazines, and its free Waitrose Weekend newspaper just recently became an app.

Samuel said that Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s magazines are also all available online and in-store and the Tesco magazine recently became the most read printed publication the U.K.

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