Retail Trends

How Print Production Enables Direct Mail Success for 2018

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When it comes to marketing, there’s nothing like a personal touch. And while digital may be rising, print is still king.

That’s why it’s so important, when it comes to your direct mail marketing efforts, to choose print materials that are engaging, eye-catching, and leave a lasting impression in the minds of your customers and prospects.

Print materials, and the quality of your partner in producing them, remain a difference-maker for CMOs everywhere. That’s according to EdgeMark Partners, who have laid out some of the top direct mail trends for 2018, and how an agile print production partner can empower you to capitalize on them.

Let’s take a look!

Stand Out With Color

According to Pantone, the Color of the Year for 2018 is “Ultra Violet,” an eye-catching purple shade. We expect to see a rise in the usage of bright, vibrant colors as CMOs look for ways to use print to help their direct mail materials stand out from the other junk mail and bills in customers’ mailboxes.

So go ahead: create your vision in Ultra Violet!

Textures: Feel the Difference

The average customer spends fewer than eight seconds looking at an advertisement. And that is precisely the power of print materials and direct mail: they provide a tangible, palpable item that customers can hold in their hands and imprint on their memory.

Touch, after all, is one of the senses most closely tied to memory in the human brain.

By working with a partner that offers many different textures, stocks, weights, and shapes in their print production lines, you can create powerful, lasting impressions with your direct mailers.

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Think Outside the Box With 3D

Thanks to advanced laser-cutting techniques now widely available, fold-out and pop-up mailers are now an affordable option at scale for many CMOs.

Imagine the lasting impact and powerful impression that comes from watching one of your products physically take shape in your customer’s hands. Add to that dynamic and eye-catching stamping options like foil and leaf, and you can create a direct mail marketing campaign unlike anything your competition is offering.

Personalization, Because Each Customer Matters

It’s absolutely critical that brands stand out from their competition by offering a superior customer experience. And that starts with personalized direct mail campaigns.

Not only do customers have a higher response rate to personalized mailers versus generic ones, but thanks to new tracking methods, CMOs can now send out mailers that speak exactly to a customer’s previous activities. If they’ve shown interest in a particular product, or tend to buy at a specific time of year, send them mailers that speak to the things you know they’re interested in.

What’s more, CMOs can and should include personalized coupons in their direct mailers. Discounts on specific items you know the customer is shopping for can be the final tool in your arsenal you need to close that deal and get them to convert.


Modern print marketing materials are still the lifeblood of the modern CMO. And when you partner with a trusted supply chain expert who is responsive and agile, a whole world of ways to leverage them in direct mail activities is opened.

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For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.


How to Sell More with High-Conversion Retail Displays


Online shopping and e-commerce continue to shift the way savvy retail marketers approach their business models, especially as they pertain to the optimization of brick-and-mortar retail stores.

That’s according to Humayan Khan at Shopify, who explains that more and more retailers are treating their physical storefronts as “experience centers,” designed to use “visual merchandising best practices to help the products sell themselves.”

Khan takes a look at some of those best practices, as well as how agile marketing operations and supply chains can help create high-converting product displays that catch shoppers’ attention and sell more.

Show Your Customers, Don’t Tell Them

Customers want to be able to truly envision how they could use your product in their lives, and they don’t want to have to guess. That’s why creating effective displays that show what life with your product looks like is so important.

Kitchenware stores, for example, don’t just feature the kitchen counter tile that is for sale. They build out an entire display kitchen, featuring their beautiful countertop at the center of it. “Can’t you imagine hosting a cocktail party in this kitchen?” they ask. “Wouldn’t your life be so much more stylish with this countertop tile?” Displays sell a lifestyle, a vision, not just a product. Use your in-store visual displays to create this compelling experience for your customers.

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Engage Their Senses to Draw Them In

The key to immersive shopping, Khan says, is to create a “multi-sensory experience,” which he calls “sensory branding.” While customers consciously associate your brand with your visual marketing materials, like colors schemes and logos, they also subconsciously associate your brand with their four other senses, as well.


This is the most important sense to capture. The average customer spends no more than eight seconds looking at a display. Leveraging captivating and engaging visual cues like lighting, symmetry, and contrast all factor into the visual effectiveness of your marketing materials.


A movie is only as compelling as its soundtrack, and the same goes for retail stores. Slower, more relaxed music facilitates a slower shopping pace, while Top 40 hits engage the attention of teenagers and the 18-34 demographic. Further, if you have an exciting new product you can’t wait to share with your customers, pair its display with equally exciting, dynamic music. Trying to convey the premium, luxury factor of your products? Classical waltzes and “upscale” music help convey your brand essence.


Touch is extraordinarily intimate, and tied strongly to memory and recall. If at all possible, retailers should feature physical samples and examples of their products within in-store displays so customers can touch it, hold it, and feel it. Even the best-designed marketing emails can’t move your product from abstract to tangible in the minds of your customers as quickly as tactile interaction.


Scent is the sense most closely tied to memory, and it is a powerful tool to keep your product and your brand top-of-mind with your customers. Whatever attitude you are trying to convey – ruggedness for outdoor equipment, coziness for furniture, deliciousness for baked goods – pair it with a scent that conveys it directly to your customer’s brain. There is an entire field known as “scent marketing” which focuses on the psychology of scent, and marketers who understand it can leverage it to their advantage.


Obviously, this is more practical for consumable goods, but allowing your customers to sample edible products is exactly the same as allowing them to try on clothes. It is a massively effective best-practice.

Change and Adapt, Always

As society changes, so too will your customers and their demands. To stagnate is to die in retail marketing, and agility and adaptability are the keys to longevity.

Brands that can not only execute on the above, but do so frequently, and to new and different specifications over time, can continue to meet their customers’ needs. This way, they remain indispensable to their customers, and win their long-term loyalty.


By partnering with a trusted marketing supply chain expert like NVISION, your brand can leverage the power of high-converting in-store displays and win more revenue.

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For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.


Retail Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018

2018 is set to be a big year for the retail industry. New tax laws mean many brands are reinvesting in their marketing efforts and looking for ways to stand out from their competition this year.

By keeping a few select trends in mind, and properly prioritizing the efforts that add value for their customers, retail marketers can stay ahead of the pack and realize more revenue. That’s according to Pamela Danziger of Forbes, who shares the most important marketing trends that retail experts have predicted for 2018.

Shifting Roles for Brick-and-Mortar

Brick-and-mortar stores for decades were by default the main revenue source for retailers, and online and e-commerce avenues supplemented these operations. “In the early days of the internet, retailers incentivized shoppers to spend money online by offering lower prices at their websites,” says Danziger.

Now, customers simply expect to find lower prices online, as well as a more convenient point-and-click shopping experience. “To justify the expense of their brick-and-mortar stores, retailers need to start giving time-starved consumers a reason to travel and shop in-person,” writes Danziger. These “reasons” now often include gifts with purchase and special in-store promotions.

Further, brick-and-mortar stores are poised to continue shifting towards becoming “experience” centers, with “experiential” marketing booming in importance. “Giving customers a deeper and more differentiated brand experience,” writes Danziger, is the new big value proposition for brick-and-mortar retailers. Using eye-catching displays, print and promotional materials, and special point-of-sale branding will help draw customers back into brick-and-mortar stores.

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The Rising Role of Marketing Logistics

As Danziger describes them, logistics are “not the sexiest topic in retail, but logistics will be a defining issue in 2018.” She explains that “as shoppers come to expect that all of the best stores are omnichannel, the ability for brands to deliver products quickly and painlessly will separate the strong from the weak.”

Well-managed marketing logistics, made possible by a highly-optimized marketing supply chain, allow brands to be truly responsive to customer demands and proactive about upcoming trends.  It also enables them to offer their customers value-adding perks, like in-store pickup, promotions, and branding mirroring what they’ve experienced online, and engaging, easy-to-navigate displays. “Nobody wants to revisit a brand that makes shopping feel like work,” Danziger writes.

By partnering with a trusted marketing logistics expert like NVISION, your brand can consistently deliver these high-value retail experiences on-time, within budget, and in a way that builds loyalty among your customers. That’s one 2018 trend that everyone can get behind.

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For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.


Preparing for Peak Holiday Shopping Season

Peak holiday shopping season presents an opportunity for retailers that is simply too important to fail to execute upon. With the surge of winter holiday shoppers promising healthy bottom lines and robust sales figures, smart companies should consider their peak season preparations a yearlong priority.

That’s according to Jacqueline Renfrow at FierceRetail, who spoke with Stefan Weitz, an industry expert in omnichannel commerce operations. Renfrow and Weitz shared several of the most common misconceptions, misunderstandings, and missteps in preparation that prevent businesses from realizing the full value of their peak shopping season.

Here is some of their most valuable advice for retailers tackling the myriad logistical complexities that surround the holiday shopping season.

The Most Common Mistake: Don’t Underestimate the Complexity

According to Weitz, the biggest and most common error retailers can make in preparing for the peak holiday shopping season is underestimating the logistical complexity of coordinating and sourcing all of their physical and in-store marketing materials.

“Many think it’s just their normal business with a little more volume,” Weitz says. But that’s not the case; the issue is that not only does the volume of business increase, but so, too, do the stakes. “The reality is that with peak season, every potential mistake is amplified tenfold,” he explains.

And it’s true: nearly every retailer counts on the peak holiday season to make its target sales numbers, but any logistical miscalculation creates a chain reaction of lost revenue and customer dissatisfaction. Any backup in the sourcing, creation and delivery of promotional products, point-of-sale materials, and in-store displays compounds down the line as your supply chain struggles to catch up. You don’t just miss your first target date, you miss the next one as you’re now behind, and the next one as each vendor is swamped by all of their customers, too. Further, the situation can grow even worse as new partners, products, and technologies you had planned to roll out are added, increasing complexity, delays, and total waste.

The sum total consequence of these consecutive holiday shortcomings is massive. Retailers will suffer reduced revenue, higher costs for rush/emergency fulfillment, greater risk of uncaught errors or mistakes, and perhaps worst of all, a severely damaging effect to their brand’s perception among customers. No company wants to be the “brand that can’t get it together,” and no customer wants to shop there, either.

woman holding shopping bags walking

Transforming the Role of Brick-and-Mortar Retail

As Weitz explains, online channels will continue to gain in market share as more and more customers opt to do their holiday shopping from the comfort of their own homes. But that doesn’t mean that brick-and-mortar retail should take a back seat. It simply means that its role must change.

Retailers should re-imagine the space, considering the infrastructure as an advantage, transforming them into…showrooms,” Weitz advises. Retailers like Apple have successfully turned their stores into brand showrooms, creating an immersive brand experience that invites and seduces customers with well-executed displays and promotional materials. Customers may still opt to make their final purchase online, but that revenue will have been generated by the experience they had in the retail space.

There is a hangup, though. As Weitz points out, “Many stores are still navigating the technology and training necessary for execution…Many retailers have successfully worked with strategic partners to make this vision a reality.”

Which is precisely why leveraging vendor help in optimizing your marketing supply chain is so critical for peak season success.

When to Start Preparing for Peak Holiday Shopping Season

Peak season is so important, preparing for it should be a yearlong strategic initiative. As soon as one peak season closes, your organization should get right to work reviewing what was successful, what wasn’t, and why.

Then, you should begin getting your logistical house in order for the next season, examining your marketing supply chain and exploring whether your organization could benefit from partnering with a vendor who can streamline and optimize it
for you.

As Weitz explains, the value in preparing for peak season well ahead of time is tremendous.

Peak holiday shopping season is a stressful but joyous time for retailers, when revenue should flow like eggnog. But in order to ensure that it does, your marketing supply chain must be healthy and optimized, and successful execution of the holiday season should be made a priority all year round.

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For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.


In-store Displays

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E-commerce and online shopping may be the hot channels getting the majority of media coverage these days, but cultivating engaging in-store experiences for customers is one of the most important keys to continuing to drive growth in brick-and-mortar revenue.

That’s according to FierceRetail’s Jacqueline Renfrow, who cites new research which suggests that in-store displays, decorations, and promotions all critically contribute to both shoppers’ preference for brick-and-mortar shopping, as well as up to 54% of in-store impulse buys.

The research, which surveyed over 11,000 consumers in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia, found that promotional displays and in-store visuals not only create a more pleasant shopping atmosphere for customers, but allow stores to create their own unique brand identities and help put consumers in the “mood” to shop there. In fact, 54% of U.S. shoppers reported that in-store promotions are the “biggest influence on their impulse buys,” while 37% of U.S. shoppers cited a store’s ability to make them “feel in the right mood” as their biggest impulse buy driver.

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But it’s not just promotions that allow retailers to make their in-store experiences stand out to customers. In-store visuals, like displays, end caps, standing booths, hanging decorations, branded apparel, and print materials all contribute heavily to the atmosphere of a store, and 70% of consumers surveyed reported that those visuals help them “connect to the brand.” Further, a full 84% of consumers claimed that said visuals make the in-store shopping experience “more enjoyable.”

In fact, when a store adds marketing materials to the in-store experience like smells and visuals, 59% of U.S. shoppers surveyed are more like to revisit that store. That number leaps to 72% for shoppers ages 18-24, and those same Millennial shoppers reported being 60% more likely to shop for longer each time they visit.

As Renfrow explains, even in an omnichannel world, each specific channels has its advantages and appeals. For the brick-and-mortar channel, the appeals are ancient: instant gratification, and overall entertainment. Yes, we may have grown beyond our teenage years, loitering at the local mall, but the fact remains that in-store shopping is still a form of entertainment for most of us, and we reward those brands that invest in creating a dynamic, entertaining in-store experience with our hard-earned dollars.

“Consumers, particularly younger consumers, aren’t just buying a product when in-store; they’re buying an experience. And their expectations for a positive, emotionally engaging experience are quite high. Those businesses who deliver an elevated customer experience witness greater repeat visits, a greater number of recommendations, and longer in-store dwell times,” says Scott Moore, global vice president of marketing at Mood Media.

And while crafting these compelling in-store experiences is crucial to retail marketing success, they require a highly-optimized and efficient supply chain to ensure each promotional material arrives on-time, in-place, and on-budget. Further, companies need to have insight into which marketing materials are actually driving revenue, and which are detracting from their carefully cultivated brand image. The proper in-store marketing materials are powerful; the wrong materials are ineffective and overpriced, and the right materials delivered too late are worthless.

Brands that take their in-store promotional and visual materials seriously stand to claim a powerful advantage over their competition, and those that understand, prioritize, and optimize their marketing supply chain can realize unprecedented success.

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For more than three decades we’ve partnered with Fortune 500 companies to deliver marketing operations solutions. Led by a strategic account management team, we’ll help you develop, procure, fulfill and distribute printed collateral, signage, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, branded merchandise and much more.