Reality Check: Traditional Print Media Inspires Mobile Purchases (Social Media Today)

Posted June 17, 2012, at Social Media Today:

by Colleen Petitt

We’ve all had moments like this. You know, the one when the J. Crew catalog slips out of your mailbox, a brilliant yellow dress on its cover, shouting for attention. Who can resist picking up this fashion bible and thumbing the pages, seduced by a selection of classics that seem to jump off the page in every color of the rainbow?

If you’re nodding your head, acknowledging that, yes, indeed, catalogs still lure you in, too, then you know I’m right when I say:

Any merchant who thinks print in dead better think again.

J. Crew catalog coverAfter all, that J. Crew catalog goes to 40 million customers a year, and despite the rise of 300 J. Crew retail stores, it’s still the catalog that defines the brand. Roughly 30 percent of J. Crew’s revenue comes from catalog and online sales, and according to J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler, the company’s print and digital campaigns are now tightly intertwined. In fact, he says much of J. Crew’s business moves specifically from catalog to online.

The same is true for other retailers who are seeing traditional print channels, such as catalogs or magazines, inspire mobile purchases.

Just last month, Google and Ipsos released results of a new study revealing that nearly half (48 percent) of smartphone users are performing mobile queries based on ads they see in magazines. By comparison, only 35 percent of smartphone users are inspired to search by posters and billboards, while 57 percent do so from in-store promotions and 58 percent from TV.

Do these searches result in sales? Apparently so. It appears that once they’re inspired by a catalog photo or magazine ad, more and more shoppers are turning to their mobile devices for their final purchases. Among smartphone users surveyed, the Google/Ipsos study found that 35 percent have already made a purchase on their smartphone, and more than two-thirds (68 percent) of those m-shoppers have made a mobile purchase in the last month.

Certainly, these numbers herald the rise of the smartphone as a purchasing tool, and there’s no question that mobile is poised to be next disruptive force in marketing. Just don’t forget: Much of the time, the initial inspiration for that mobile transaction comes from good ol’, traditional print marketing, not the latest social media platform or a new app.

As Lisa Cavales, CMO of Express, explains, customers (especially younger ones) are beginning to make “little delineation between channels.” Today’s empowered consumers expect to interact with brands across a wide range of touchpoints, and that means a strategy integrating both off- and online approaches is becoming increasingly essential.

Sure, The Google/Ipsos study indicates shoppers are feeling increasingly comfortable hitting the “Buy Now” button using their mobile devices, but the wise retail marketer knows the best way to make a sale is by integrating messaging across both “old” and new media. The omnichannel revolution is here, and marketers who want to maintain a competitive edge are going to have to create campaigns that are nimble, responsive, multi-channel, integrated . . . and sometimes a little slippery out of the mailbox, too.

Read the article at Social Media Today:

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