You Won’t Stop Seeing “Junk Mail” – Here’s Why…

One old-school retailing trick has survived the e-commerce shakeout—the lowly advertising circular.

Some grocers and other retail chains have learned they risk losing business without a steady flow of paper mailings nudging shoppers to stores. Even online startups that don’t have physical shops are embracing the idea.

Paper ads that arrive in homes spur more buying than emails or texts, said Jackson Jeyanayagam, chief marketing officer of Boxed.com, an online seller of household goods. “Email is starting to become a sandbox because you get so much,” Mr. Jeyanayagam said. Boxed spent 80% more on print advertising in 2017 compared with 2016 and says it now makes up about 12% of the marketing budget.

At Jet.com, the e-commerce site that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. bought in 2016, direct mail makes up 10% of the media budget and is the online retailer’s largest offline marketing expense. Jet sent around 35 million paper coupons and mailers last year, which are effective in reaching new and repeat shoppers as the company tries to attract more urban, affluent shoppers, said Emily Frankel, senior director of digital marketing.

Annual spending on newspaper circulars, coupons, direct mail and catalogs hit about $76 billion in 2017, slightly lower than the previous year but up 85% versus 2012, according to Borrell Associates, a media consulting firm. The firm expects spending on some forms of mailed ads to fall as the U.S. Postal Service raises rates in coming years, said Kip Cassino, executive vice president at Borrell.

Early last year, visits to Costco Wholesale Corp. warehouse stores slowed slightly after the retailer sent fewer paper pamphlets touting deals. “We decided to change back immediately,” said Costco’s finance chief, Richard Galanti. Still, Costco made adjustments, offering deeper discounts on fewer products that it hopes will better drive sales, Mr. Galanti said.

Thanks to WSJ for reminding us print mail is here to stay. Read their entire article here.

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