Based on comments from a number of readers, in the grand scheme of mobile commerce, those printed circulars may not be ready for the recycle bin.
Last week in this space, I wrote about the effectiveness of circulars (Mobile Coupons & the Waning Impact of Printed Circulars) based on a stat from digital marketing firm Catalina.
The company analyzed millions of transactions over a holiday shopping period and found that a large percentage of items advertised in the circulars were not purchased at all.
One reader referred to another recent study that showed many back to school shoppers preferred print ads. “There could be other factors, such as industry, age, location, but please, let's not relegate print to the recycle bin just yet,” wrote Greg.
Several readers tool issue with the idea that various forms of mobile couponing would edge out the circular.
“Not so fast,” wrote Gian. “The vast majority of POS scanner systems being used by supermarket chains today can't even read a UPC bar code on a phone, so there's no way they can handle the scanning of mobile coupons at checkout.”
Another reader sees longevity in circulars.
“I think circulars, which are more targeted than given credit for (by zip code at the very least) have some legs to them for a number of years yet, especially with older demographics,” wrote Kern. “Plus, only measuring which featured items were actually bought (during one specific shopping weekend) does also under-measure the suggestive value of delivered print material. Mobile is still an opt-in medium, and therefore less able to draw in new customers from competitors.”
And there was no shortage of ideas and suggestions.
“Digital circulars need to be pushed to consumers, via email and on to their mobile devices (tablets, etc.),” wrote Al.
“We need to create dynamic signatures that allow marketers to populate intelligent circulars based on the transactional profile of consumers. This is NOT about consumers seeking digital coupons; this IS about consumers receiving intelligent digital circulars and shopping from them.”
Added Steve: “Until retailers become willing to truly integrate at POS, the opportunity to exploit the mobile/digital potential is limited. The shopper journey and the "trade" journey to promotional fulfillment must be seamless to be effective. The shopper is way ahead of the marketers and retailers at this stage.”
We agree with that point, about the shopper being ahead of many marketers and retailers.
In any case, it looks like the circular has some staunch defenders.
“Ask any retailer, especially a grocer what drives the most traffic (by far) to their stores: it is printed circulars,” wrote Randy.
And readers saw other attributes as well.
“Print holds still and lets you read it, wrote Cece. “Print does not demand your contact information and purchasing history. People who prefer these experiential and privacy factors don't really care if marketers (or anyone else) think they are ancient and uncool or not sufficiently compliant with orders. They know it's still their money to spend, or not.
So what’s your take? What is the future you see for printed circulars?