Supporting Research

Print in a Digital E-commerce World

When Marketers Think E-Commerce, They Think Digital. But The Data Shows, When Used Together, Print Can Greatly Enhance Digital Campaigns And Act As A Response Multiplier To Boost Digital Efforts.

Print Kickstarts a Buying Process

Our first set of findings address the myth that buyers solely want to connect with brands by researching and shopping online. While it’s true that buying activity continues to shift online, the nuance that is often missed by marketers in allocating marketing dollars is that print is often the catalyst for online research and buying activity.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, said it best: “The Web is where we go to get answers, but print is where we go to ask questions.”

Consumers Want to Connect With Brands Across Multiple Channels

Consider that 86 percent of shoppers bought an item after first seeing it in a printed catalog. Thirty-nine percent of customers say they have tried a business for the first time because of direct mail advertising, and 51 percent prefer companies use a combination of mail and email when communicating with them. When well executed, a direct mail marketing campaign can be used to grow your consumer base by attracting new customers to your business.

This is not a phenomenon that is confined to older generations; it is cross-generational. Twenty-three percent of Millennials bought or ordered something as a result of receiving direct mail in the last 12 months.

The ROI of Print

It’s clear print serves as a catalyst to a shopping process often culminating online, and that shoppers want to connect with brands across multiple channels that include print. But what ROI can e-commerce marketers expect to see from their investment in print?

According to research firm comScore, retailers have seen a $21 million difference in online sales per million site visitors between those who had received a catalog at their home addresses and those who had not. Apparel retailer Bonobos reported a 1.5X lift in spend from customers who received a catalog vs. new shoppers who didn’t. And research shows that for every $167 spent on direct mail, marketers sell $2,095 in goods.

What’s Next for Marketers

So what do e-commerce marketers who want to get started leveraging print alongside digital channels do next?

Joe Puluzzi said it best in his article “Print at the Center of a Digital Content Strategy. Are You Mad?”

“Yes, it’s true. Print and digital have a secret, special relationship. Those that can harness the power of print and Web integration will see magic happen. Step 1: Open your customers’ minds to possibilities … to opportunities in print. Questions arise. Step 2: Begin to answer those questions with specific, how-to Web content.”