Commentary

Print Preferred?: Back-To-School Shoppers Want Analog Ads, Too

Now here is a metric we would like to see more often. Although location analytics company Placed usually is on the hunt for audience data that emphasizes the value of the mobile media it serves, the company’s latest survey of back-to-school shopper preferences was a resounding confirmation of the enduring power of print. It turns out that when asked which ways they prefer to receive back-to-school promotions, 46.3% of a large panel of mobile users said “print ads,” which led direct mail from the store or brand (41.3%), email from the store or brand (41.1%), brand or store Web site (28.4%), deal Web sites (26.1%) and was far ahead of social media (21.2%).

The Placed Back-to-School Shopping: 2013 Trends study was based on a subset of over 12,000 survey smartphone respondents that have at least one child. And while the majority of shoppers planned and shopped before school opened, 11% plan to keep buying into September. Costco, J.C. Penney, Kmart and Sam’s Club are the chief beneficiaries of these late buyers, Placed metrics show. Macy’s, on the other hand, overindexed among those who were planning and shopping up to three months in advance of school.

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The resilience of print, both in ads and in direct mail, strongly suggests the importance of cross-platform marketing plans for retailers. It also reminds everyone to keep emerging platforms in perspective. Consumers are omnichannel shoppers now. True -- about 2 in 5 back-to-school shoppers planned to use their smartphones to compare prices while in-store, the survey says, but that activity is just part of a more subtle multi-screen and traditional consideration cycle.

Among those who will be using smartphones as part of the shopping cycle, 48.9% told Placed they would be looking for coupons and discounts, 34.2% would want access to the retail or brand Web site, 31.9% want store locations and 30.5% would be making a shopping list.

Especially interesting in Placed’s survey is the affinity between mobile purchasing and specific brands. The company cross-indexed the 20.5% who said they planned to make a purchase on their phones this school shopping season with the stores those people tended to visit most often. It turns out that someone planning to make an m-purchase was 22% more likely to visit Macy’s than the average shopper, 22% more likely to visit Office Depot, 21% more likely to enter OfficeMax and 19% more likely to go to Best Buy. Perhaps not coincidentally, all of those brands have fairly advanced and fluid mobile shopping programs that lead to sales and in-store pick-up functionality that is better than most.  

1 comment about "Print Preferred?: Back-To-School Shoppers Want Analog Ads, Too".
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  1. Joseph Anzai from Folderprinters.com, August 28, 2013 at 9:47 a.m.

    The affinity between mobile purchasing and specific brands does not surprise me at all. The particular brands listed are aggressively marketing in all areas, print, web, mobile which no doubt has forged there brands on the minds of the audience they are targeting. What I believe it comes down too with these particular brands, is extremely good marketing campaigns and a barrage or blitz of these campaigns.
    They are constantly on the minds of the targeted audience. This coupled with a ease of use mobile application generates a confident mobile buyer.

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