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Criticality of Printed Information in the Retail Industry

By The Electronic Document Systems Foundation (EDSF) in collaboration with Gartner Inc. and George Mason University

Direct Mail

"Print is an important part of the retail communication process."

Date: September 2006

Authors: Pete Basiliere (Gartner) and Kumar Mehta, PhD, (George Mason University)

Type of Promotional Material/Activity Tested: Printed promotional material in the retail sector.

Sample Population: Ninety respondents from a starting sample of 327 retailers, who held the job title of supervisor, or above. Respondents represent a company size of 5,000 or more employees with revenues exceeding $100 million.

Metrics: Survey of retail store managers’ attitudes towards the value, use, and future of printed promotional material (e.g., direct mail, catalogs, and in-store signage).

Top Line Results:

Percentage of Respondents Using These Promotional Materials

Periodic Print Promotions 98%
Direct Mail 76%
Print Coupons 71%

Internet Promotions and Coupons


Print Catalogs

Take Away:  From the conclusion: "Print remains an important part of the retail store communication process— one that offers suppliers significant benefits and major challenges. Retail store managers do not perceive print to be a critical element of their operations, yet are well aware of the price they pay for it. Given the managers prefer print that promotes their brand, prospective suppliers must demonstrate to them just how the value of their offerings exceeds the charges the central print or outsourced print provider charges.

The growing acceptance of electronic signage indicates a challenge to suppliers that is on the horizon. Be prepared to repurpose printed copy into electronic signs and to offer the appropriate files quickly so retailers may swiftly react to their competitor’s moves.

To be a successful supplier to stores, providers must enable the retailer to enhance their customers’ experience and thereby increase revenues. Concentrate on the corporate procurement organization but neglect the store managers at your peril. Retail store managers are a critical part of this process because they face customers every day. Understand what they need to be successful and provide offerings that fulfill their objectives, enabling you to not only sell equipment but to also ensure your
equipment is used, supplies are consumed, and a profitable long-term relationship is nurtured."

Complexity rating: 1 (Complex statistical analysis scale: 1= none, 2= moderate, 3 = difficult)

Source: Criticality of Printed Information in the Retail Industry, EDSF