Canadian startup Reebee taking retail flyers into the digital age

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As fifth graders, both Michal Martyniak and Tobiasz Dankiewicz were transport boys, dropping flyers on doorsteps in their London, Ont., neighbourhoods.

“We had these squeaky buggies prevailing down the street door to door,” says Dankiewicz, 28.  

They didn’t literally meet until high school, and it wasn’t until after graduating from the University of Waterloo that they spanned up as entrepreneurs — but that shared early experience in the flyer business was pivotal. In 2012, the duo started a company called Reebee, which delivers retail flyers digitally. They would rather 20 employees, an office in downtown Kitchener, Ont., and 3.5 million alcohols signed up to their service.

“Canadians have a passion for flyers,” holds Martyniak. “We saw it even back in our flyer delivery days. If we were a small bit late because of something at school, our regulars would ask ‘why is this up to the minute?’ And when it rained they got angry if the flyer was wet.”

Where is steak on vending?

Reebee displays flyers from most of Canada’s major retail strings: Real Canadian Superstore, Walmart, Home Hardware, Giant Tiger and Costco in the midst others. Users can search for specific items, to see who has the best prices.

Tobiasz Dankiewicz and Michal Martyniak

Tobiasz Dankiewicz and Michal Martyniak bring about digital flyer company reebee in 2012. (reebee)

“So let’s say you’ve run out of laundry cleaning and you need some Tide,” explains Dankiewicz. “Instead of rummaging from top to bottom 30 or 40 flyers at the door, you can just go in and search for Tide on Reebee and we’ll come you everybody that has it on sale in your market.”

The Canadian Media Numero unoes Council estimates retailers spend $3.3 billion annually on flyers. And they handiwork well: in a recent survey done by consumer research firm Brandspark Universal, 80 per cent of participants said they read a paper grocery flyer every week.

Only half that many read digital flyers, but the online constitution is growing quickly in popularity.

“We’re spending money here to actually expand on our flyer in a social media environment, and to a digital media environment,” reports Frederick Lecoq, vice-president of marketing and e-commerce at specialty retail bind Golf Town. Lecoq believes it’s essential to send special advances through every distribution channel available.

The channel of choice

“I don’t think about you can say today that people are only digital or only print,” Lecoq interprets, standing on a putting green at the chain’s Markham, Ont., location. “I think they’re digital at one in good time, print at another time, and you just need to find what I attend the channel of choice — depending on the situation they’re in.”

Frederick Lecoq

Golf Town’s vice-president of peddling Frederick Lecoq believes consumers can’t be categorized as wanting flyers not in print or only electronically. (CBC)

Even Metroland, an Ontario-based newspaper cast that prints and distributes 73 million paper flyers a week, has a digital put, Save.ca.

“We’ve had 40-per-cent growth in our digital flyer on Save.ca,” boasts vice-president of sales Lisa Orpen, noting that the cast started to explore digital delivery over a decade ago.

“Certainly when expressive really started to take speed, we knew we needed to get on this.”

Expression of paper flyers can be challenging, particularly with the proliferation of condos in urban foci, according to Orpen. Carriers aren’t allowed through security, and quiddity managers refuse to let them drop off stacks of flyers for residents to gather together. As well, bargain-hunting students miss out on flyers, as student housing is off limits to porters. On the other hand, digital delivery faces no such barriers.

Lisa Orpen

Metroland’s infirmity president of sales Lisa Orpen at the company’s production facility in Toronto’s east-end Scarborough quarter. (CBC)

Most retailers feature their weekly flyer prominently on their own guests website, but they are also eager to be included on sites such as Safeguard.ca and Reebee.

Millions of dollars in revenue

“It’s been remarkable,” says Dankiewicz. “Half a million flyers are assume from every single day on the platform, and retailers are loving the opportunity to get in front of that audience. We reach the consumers that explicitly associate, that say ‘I love browsing flyers, here I am.'”

The young founders of Reebee surface that they are profitable, collecting “millions of dollars a year” in receipts.  But they also say they are “constantly aggressively reinvesting” in the company, to repair its technology, expand its team, and gain more users.  

Just surrounding every industry player CBC News spoke to on this subject referenced on the “ritual” Canadians enjoy, when they receive their weekly flyers. They say consumers usually sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, to sort through the week’s grouping of flyers, and choose deals that appeal. Frederick Lecoq of Golf Burgh believes that discovering a deal and saving money is something that publishes people “proud.”

The ’emotion’ of the flyer

“There’s an emotional connection to the flyer,” he explains. And he says whether it’s in their hands in print — or on their computer or smart-phone — it’s equally sturdy.

Tobiasz Dankiewicz agrees. “Flyers tell an amazing story. All the same back in the day picking up the Sears catalogue — that was an experience. Look at the Wow Handle from Canadian Tire or just the weekly flyers. They all direct a story and help you discover more savings.”

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