How Retailers Can Combine Digital And Print Solutions

How Retailers Can Combine Digital And Print Solutions

There is a growing shift towards digital solutions in every area of our lives, and this is no different in retail. Online shopping has certainly grown in popularity, but there’s still a place for physical stores – and marketing materials – in our lives.

While you might think that you need to rush out and invest in new technology to help keep up with the ever-evolving trend for digitalisation, a recent article for Retail Week explained that there’s still plenty of need for print materials and that these can work well alongside digital innovations.

Interestingly, the news provider shared research which found that customers make a stronger emotional connection with printed collateral over digital marketing materials. The reason is that “print generates a lower cognitive load”, it explained.

But there are plenty of other benefits for retailers who choose to continue with activities like flyer distribution in Portsmouth and Havant. One of them is that printed collateral also results in higher engagement among consumers than digital alternatives.

“From in-store signage to vouchers, coupons and direct-mail campaigns, retailers can expect a higher level of engagement with consumers than they would have through purely digital methods,” the news provider asserted.

It also revealed that, because people find it easier to concentrate on print materials than the likes of emails, they are a better option if you want to share more detailed information and illicit a positive emotional response.

But while there are lots of benefits to adopting a print-only approach, Retail Week pointed out that combining your printed materials with digital communication is the most effective way to reach consumers.

The research indicated that using both digital and print has a greater impact than just using one or the other. It’s about understanding which solutions should be used for what purposes. The publication explained that in-store marketing is still best carried out with print materials, like posters and banners.

This is because it’s cost-effective to produce and put up in store, and can be easily changed. Where digital technology comes into its own is in terms of data collection. This allows retailers to provide consumers with highly personalised offers, not to mention enabling them to run more targeted advertising and marketing campaigns.

Last year, CEO of Reichelt Elektronik Ulf Timmermann wrote for Retail Gazette that it’s essential for retailers to continue using printed materials alongside digital solutions. He said that his company still produces a print catalogue, as well as selling online.

“The blend of using both tools and giving customers an option means we aren’t excluding any parts of our audience and are providing the right shopping experience at the right time,” he asserted.

There are many benefits for both the business and consumers, he stressed, noting that from a business perspective one of the key advantages to printed materials like catalogues is data protection. However, he added that companies can still use the multitude of information they hold on their consumers to target their print marketing.

This could mean sending out a specific version of a catalogue based on a customer’s order history, for instance.

Mr Timmermann also revealed that many retailers in the electronics space have done away with print catalogues, only to reinstate them.

He also cited data from GfK in the Netherlands, which found that traditional print catalogues can reach 11 million people, whereas digital catalogues reach just four million.

Customers also like having an option that doesn’t require them to be on a device to view it. There’s an always-on culture in the modern world, and being able to browse products without the constant interruption of pop-ups, banner adverts and invitations to sign up to newsletters is a welcome opportunity for many.

The key is not to choose one approach over the other, but to have both a print and digital catalogue available so that you allow people to make their own choices and to browse your products in the way that best suits them.

Finding the right way to blend the print and digital worlds will depend on the type of business you run and who your customers are. But it’s worth creating a marketing plan that includes both of these options side by side, rather than planning each side of your marketing campaign separately.

Don’t forget that you can use printed collateral in your store to remind consumers that you have a digital offering too. Retail Week even suggested that you have information about how to sign up for digital updates located around your store. That could be in the form of posters or even banners – whatever signage you feel would work best in your retail environment.

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