Retail MarketingLeave a Comment on The power of print in retail

The power of print in retail

In the world of retail, digital is the future, right?

As the day-to-days of both consumers and businesses become more entwined with the digital landscape, it is understandable that online channels are now more widely discussed than their print-based counterparts. 

They can be showcased to a wider populous, and deliver more accurate data over how effectively campaigns are fulfilling their goals.

Email campaigns. Social media. Search engine advertising. Digital banners. Billions are spent by retailers year-round to establish and expand their foothold online. 

With the evolution of digital channels showing no signs of slowing down, attention has drifted away from printed assets. To many, these materials are nothing more than relics of a bygone era. Fossils that continue to linger as the digital age continues its inevitable takeover.

Absolutely not. If anything, the power and potential of print in today’s climate is more potent than it has ever been.

While it remains crucial for retailers to get on board with the demands of this digital age, there is a lot of evidence out there demonstrating that an eye-catching, perfectly on-brand printed asset can leave a lasting impression on certain audiences in a way digital simply doesn’t.

Posters, brochures, banners, coupons and more offer a tangible way to connect with audiences of all ages, building brand awareness and capturing customer interest. 

Here are a few examples of how relevant print marketing is, even in today’s primarily digital atmosphere:

Print adverts

While more and more organisations have cut down on their print advertising spend in favour of digital equivalents, the effectiveness of these more tangible ads shouldn’t be underestimated. In fact, as we will explore in the following section, print adverts can actually inspire stronger emotional responses than the stuff they see through their screens. Plus, clever incorporation of QR codes, social media integrations and more are allowing these printed materials to blend seamlessly into the digital landscape. In the example below, Ford used a phone-shaped outline with a QR code in the centre to display a series of short films to accompany their print ads.


Direct mail

Some will consider direct mail as old-fashioned. They would question why would you send something to someone’s door when you can connect with them instantly through email? However, the conversion rate of direct mail is up to ten times greater than that of an average email, illustrating that this physical, more personable style of reaching customers does pay dividends.

Over time, direct mail has also evolved to combine effectively with digital marketing techniques, such as the #20Helps campaign run by 97th Floor — an initiative that demonstrates the positive power of money by encouraging people to set aside $20 for good.

In a world where we rely on digital connections for practically every interaction, harnessing a physical $20 bill aims to bring back the tangible element of giving. Tangibility is something that a creative piece of direct mail has always done brilliantly.



Many brands and retailers, such as Nordstrom, Patagonia and Restoration Hardware have invested heavily in printed catalogues in recent years. This is because, as physical, long-lasting products, catalogues can stay with consumers long after any emails or social media posts are deleted. This increases their brand awareness whenever the consumer passes it in their home.

In addition, they present a more vivid, visual picture to customers on particular products and, through the incorporation of QR codes, promo codes and social media integrations, they can feed directly back into the digital landscape as well.



There is a long-held assumption that the high street is on its last legs. While the explosion of e-commerce has impacted physical shops, they still remain popular destinations, and this means that POS materials still can have a dramatic impact on people’s buying habits.

These printed assets have their strongest appeal among impulse buyers at checkout locations, and as more and more retailers have focused on improving omnichannel experiences within their stores, these static, straightforward displays can provide an eye-catching alternative to more extravagant digital signage. Nike are a great example of a brand that knows the power of keeping things simple.


In recent years, a lot of research has been compiled on the effectiveness of printed media against their digital equivalents. It has provided some results that those who are devoted to the digital revolution might not expect:

Print gets more attention

Print materials are more likely to capture the attention of the reader for all the most important areas. Through these mediums, consumers focus more on product, price, offers, logos and CTAs.

Print is simpler to understand

It takes more cognitive power from a viewer of a digital advert to understand what they’re seeing, while print adverts are comparably far simpler. This means they have to keep the content and design of these a lot simpler to keep the viewer’s attention, while their printed counterparts can be more detailed.

Print elicits more emotional responses

As digital marketing demands more on the viewer mentally to interpret them, this typically leads to weaker emotional responses to these when compared to printed versions. This is particularly apparent among younger audiences, who might be overwhelmed by the number of digital communications they receive every day.

Print is more trusted

Because there are no risks of pop-ups or other distractions, and the general lack of trust that can surround online channels, print marketing is often considered more trustworthy and more official, especially by millennial audiences.

Print benefits brand awareness

As customers looking at print materials are more likely to recall the most standout elements of content in comparison to digital examples, this means consumers are subsequently more likely to remember the brand in the future.

To sum up, persisting with print can encourage:

  • Better engagement between customers and your brand
  • More trust from customers towards your brand
  • Deeper, more positive emotional connections with customers
  • Content that is read more intently and actively
  • Lasting impressions on customers compared to fleeting digital adverts

Of course, this isn’t a call to disconnect all your computers, shut down your social media accounts and make print your main form of marketing. As noted earlier, the digital revolution shows no signs of slowing and is the primary means that people today consume information.

But, maybe the best results can be generated by finding a fitting balance between both the digital and printed channels. We highlighted earlier that printed materials typically capture the attention of consumers easier and elicit a more positive emotional response.

Well, beyond that, the use of print can then increase the effectiveness of future digital materials. Further research by PostNord into this relationship demonstrated that, if the first interaction a consumer has with a brand is through a printed asset, then the second interaction through a digital asset will evoke a more positive response than the other way around.

Consumers spend approximately 30 minutes on average reading physical mail, while 79% find it more convenient than reading emails (Source: USPS)

This illustrates the strength of a campaign that leads with print, to be further reinforced with digital advertising at a later date.

However, that doesn’t mean the reverse of this approach can’t be equally as effective in the right circumstances. Take Tesco Clubcard for example – they can use the information gathered from consumers using their online shopping list to motivate tailored offers through the post to these individuals or send special deals relating to upcoming weather conditions or events.

Alternatively, using product data gathered through online sources, this can spur other forms of personalised printed materials for individual customers or distinct groups. For instance, using up-to-the-minute data generated by your PIM/ERP systems, you can incorporate these into personalised letters, brochures and leaflets that will encourage users to make a purchase.

BAM by Papirfly™ can assist here as it allows for the seamless integration of your PIM/ERP solution. This means you can quickly create marketing materials with the latest, accurate data, ensuring everything produced is completely trustworthy and well-detailed, enriching the experience for your customers.

Above all else, finding an effective balance between print and digital materials, and ensuring these are delivered to customers at the right frequency and with the consistent presentation, puts you in a strong position to engage your audiences with the highest degree of success.

Power up your printed materials with BAM by Papirfly™

Declarations about the death of printed marketing materials have been greatly exaggerated. On the contrary – as we’ve noted throughout this article, in a landscape where people can often find themselves overwhelmed by the abundance of digital communications and need to escape from time to time, print can make a major impression and encourage a greater emotional response.

We hope that this motivates you to persist with print as part of your overall marketing strategy, as it can help differentiate your brand from those that have dived head-first into a digital-only approach.

To help you realise the full potential of print in your organisation, speak to us today about BAM by Papirfly™. Through our intuitive, intelligent brand activation platform, you will never have to worry about the quality and consistency of your marketing output, both printed and digital, and will be in a position to create more assets than ever before at a fraction of the cost.

Get in touch with our team and start the path to empowering your teams with BAM today.

Retail MarketingLeave a Comment on What is ethical consumerism and why should you care?

What is ethical consumerism and why should you care?

Consumers today have never been more conscious of where their products come from, the impact of their purchases and the conditions of the employees working across their favourite brands.

As well as wages and working environments, customers are also paying close attention to where companies source materials, where goods are manufactured, as well as a brand’s values and commitments.

This ethical consumerism is such a great consideration for shoppers today that customers are voting with their wallets. They are buying from companies that align with their personal values or demonstrate certain ethics, instead of the retailers they may already be familiar with.

What is ethical consumerism?

Every product your shop manufactures, stocks or sells has an impact on the world. A growing number of consumers realise this and want to buy from organisations that have a more positive influence on certain social and environmental issues.

This phenomenon is called ethical consumerism and is a purchasing practice that has been gaining momentum and popularity in recent years all over the world. To illustrate just how prominent this market is, recent reports suggest that it’s now worth around £122 billion in the UK alone.

Beyond the environment and employee working conditions, ethical consumerism is a broad term that can encompass a range of things.

Ethical consumerism can encompass whether or not a company…

  • Tests on animals
  • Uses sustainable materials
  • Supports what they say they do
  • Uses animal products

Although many factors have contributed to the boom in ethical consumerism, one of the primary reasons for this seismic shift in customer behaviour is down to the rise of social media.

These platforms are home to billions of users, all following, researching and discussing their favourite brands every single day. And, as word spreads fast on these platforms, a single post shining a spotlight on a company’s unethical practices could quickly gain traction.

This is exactly what happened in 2017 for the popular ride-sharing app, Uber. A former engineer at the company took to her personal blog to shine a light on the rotten internal company culture. The blog post went viral and hit headlines around the world, severely impacting the app’s reputation and popularity.

Why is ethical consumerism important for your brand?

As well as benefiting the world, incorporating policies and actions that appeal to the ethical consumer can have several direct benefits to your shop and brand.

Encourage brand loyalty

Many of the world’s most well-known brands grow and succeed because they encourage people to come back and purchase, time and again. Repeat custom rarely happens naturally, and more often than not hinges on a brand developing a trusting relationship with its customers.

Fostering meaningful buyer relationships isn’t something that takes just one action of goodwill. However, by aligning your corporate values with your shoppers’ expectations, and becoming more responsible as a retailer, you help lay a solid foundation from which to build a loyal customer base.

To highlight how valuable brand loyalty can be for your business, consider that 50% of loyal customers will make more purchases with their preferred companies.

Bolster your reputation

Although the ethical market is growing, this paradigm shift in consumer behaviour has also brought about a rise in ‘corporate boycotting’. This is when consumers avoid specific companies or products because they fail to meet certain common standards or expectations.

By catering to the ethical consumer in your shop, you can work to meet the rising expectations of prospects and help avoid the negative impact on sales and brand reputation a boycott could bring.

Although the severity of corporate boycotts can vary, sportswear titan Nike was at the centre of a labour controversy in 1990 that damaged the brand so much that it caused the company to completely rethink how it operated and presented itself on the world stage.

Future proof your brand

Year on year, ethical shopping continues to make up a larger and larger portion of the market, as individuals become more aware of their impact on the world around them.

Moreover, as Gen Z, one of the most ethically conscious cohorts enters the workforce, this consumer movement is unlikely to slow down. 

By taking steps to become a more responsible retailer, you help ensure your shop remains appealing to shoppers today and tomorrow.

How to embrace ethical consumerism

Because ethical consumerism is such a broad and varied topic, there are dozens of ways your business can cater to the ethical consumer – from changing the way you ship your goods, to the way you front your brand in the public eye.

Reduce your brand’s carbon emissions

One way to meet customer expectations is to reduce your carbon footprint as a store. While there are many ways you can approach this problem, we have selected a handful of simple potential solutions you may want to try:

✅  Install energy-saving bulbs in-store
✅  Ship orders to the same address together
✅  Turn off the air-con when it’s not needed
✅  Switch lights off overnight when the store is closed
✅  Encourage employees to cycle or walk to work
✅  Set up a customer recycling scheme to safely dispose of old goods

Even making microscopic changes to the way you operate, such as favouring digital receipts and printing documents double-sided, can all help reduce your emissions and create a more eco-friendly image for your brand.

Align corporate values with corporate actions

Another way you can embrace ethical consumerism is by ensuring your corporate values align with the actions your shop takes. 

For example, if your brand pledges to reduce its impact on the environment, but keeps all of its lights on overnight, people may feel as though you aren’t taking your corporate social responsibility seriously. This, in turn, can quickly harm your reputation.

Take some time to ensure your values correlate. If this means reducing the scale of your commitments to make sure your enterprise can actually achieve what it has set out to do, this will be better for your brand than overpromising and underdelivering.

As well as that, you should also ensure your values are easily found online or across your social platforms, as hiding this information away could seed distrust. Many responsible retailers have a section on their website dedicated to their ethical goals.

Educate your customers

A third way of catering to ethically-minded customers is by using your reputation and platforms, such as your social pages or blog, to educate prospects on issues pertinent to your brand.

Tell people why you support what you do, and the steps you will take to achieve your desired goals. By committing to causes publicly, you help build trust with new and existing customers, while also raising awareness for good causes and charities.

Naturally, content is crucial in spreading the word about your brand’s values online and in-store. However, as campaigns and charities come and go often, enlisting the expertise of a third-party agency to produce assets may not suit your budget or timescale.

Bringing content production in-house is often unworkable too, as the content creation process is traditionally time-consuming, and would likely clash with other employees’ responsibilities. As well as this, building branded visuals takes skills your team may not have access to.

Bringing the creation of quality visuals inside your store sounds impossible. But, with brand activation management software, such as BAM by Papirfly™, teams can utilise the software’s smart templates to create on-brand visuals at pace and on budget, even without design experience.

3 retailers accommodating the conscious consumer

With customer sentiment continuing to evolve, countless retailers have already begun to make changes to the way they operate and market themselves. 

To give you some inspiration and guidance on how you can become a more ethically minded retailer, here are three of our favourite examples.

1. Lush

It’s not just the scents of the shops that are sweet – it’s also the brand’s commitment to causes such as ethical buying and animal testing that help it stand out as one of the most conscious retailers on the high street today.

As well as publicly standing for and against causes that they believe in online, the retailer also takes real action to support funds, charities and other causes that align with its beliefs. Their ethos also extends to their eco-friendly products and their recyclable packaging.

Lush’s commitment to sustainability and fairtrade arguably defines the retailer just as much as its whimsical scents. As a result, the brand has a devout following of fans all around the world.

2. WHSmith

Popular bookstore WHSmith has pledged to reduce its carbon footprint and work to become more sustainable by using a number of methods.

Some of these include stocking more eco-friendly and recycled products in-store, reducing the use of single-use plastic throughout the chain of shops, removing the use of plastic glitter on their goods and getting rid of unnecessary packaging.

Although WHSmith may not be the first brand that comes to mind when you think ‘responsible retailer’, its actions have already begun to positively impact the company’s reputation, cementing itself as one of the top 5 ethical high street shops.

3. Reform

Lastly, Reform, a fashion company focused on minimising its impact on the environment, aims to bring sustainable fashion to everyone.

To do this, the brand uses low-impact materials, rescued deadstock fabrics and repurposed vintage clothing. Beyond sustainability, the retailer is also committed to providing a safe and comfortable working environment for its garment workers, building its own factory in Los Angeles to make this a reality.

Although they are a relatively new retailer, its ethics resonate with customers, generating the business over $150 million in revenue in 2019.

Readying your brand for an ethical future

With customers more aware of social and environmental issues than ever before, ethical consumerism has seen a boom in popularity in recent years. 

Although this consumer movement may present a prime opportunity to grow the trust and authenticity of your brand in the eyes of your target audience, it’s important to be clear and honest when making commitments.

While there are many facets of this more conscious form of shopping, content is crucial in demonstrating your pledges to becoming a more responsible retailer. 

Creating in-store signage, social media content and visuals for the web can be a costly and time-consuming practice, especially if you have to rely on third-party agencies for their output.

However, building captivating visuals that showcase your ethics doesn’t have to be a grand investment in time or money. With brand activation management software, like BAM by Papirfly™, you can build on-style visuals quickly and cost-effectively, without any design expertise.

4 BAM features ideal for retailers:

  • Create unlimited collateral using smart templates
  • Plan, approve and assess multiple campaigns
  • Store and share files in a single, easily accessible place
  • Import product information effortlessly with speed and ease

To learn more about BAM, and the many ways it can help your brand cater to the ethical consumer, get in touch with our team today or arrange a personal demo online.

Retail MarketingLeave a Comment on Retailers: Your guide to peak period planning

Retailers: Your guide to peak period planning

Seasons come and go. And with them, they bring a new promotion for retail marketers to focus on. The challenges that come with holidays such as Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas and New Year are intense, and adequate preparation can’t be overstated.

Despite these periods being some of the most chaotic times of the year, they are also the ones filled with the most opportunity. If teams are able to harness the best of the physical and digital world in the following ways, and keep their cool during what seems like a never-ending cycle of production, success will be on the horizon.

Pre-peak season

By taking the time to consider your next steps, you can lay a strong foundation for success and give your teams the preparation they need to succeed.

Prepare your marketing and influencer strategies

Seeding contact with influencers early on is key to building relationships, but remember to have a backup plan. During the time between this initial contact and peak period, a lot could happen. For instance, if your chosen influencer(s) get themselves into hot water with the press, you’re going to want to find a replacement pronto.

Basing your marketing strategy around your creatives is a no-brainer, but ensuring this creative lands well with your audience will be where the challenge lies. Getting your agency to conduct focus groups on your messaging and how well it lands in the current climate could prove invaluable. As with influencer strategies, be conscious of any factors that could change between this initial creative sign-off and go-live and always be prepared for the unexpected.

Book in customer support training

As shopping activity spikes, so will your customer service contact. Automated messenger bots can help to delay human contact and gather information for when a shopper is put through, but it can also cause frustration. 

Whether it’s improving your AI messenger strategy or giving group training to your support team, they are going to face almost every type of problem over the peak period and they need to be prepared for every scenario.

Remember to set parameters with what customer service leads can authorise too, if a 10% discount is going to soothe an angry customer, you should assess which de-escalation strategies are worth the investment.

Incentivise loyal customers

While loyal customers might seem like the least likely group you need to encourage to spend, you need to ensure another brand doesn’t distract them with an offering shinier and more appealing than your own. Reward them for their loyalty, whether that’s through a discount code, increased loyalty card points or early access to sales. 

Develop cart abandonment strategies

The bane of any e-commerce marketer’s existence. While there are several creative ways to keep shoppers progressing their purchases, the best piece of advice is simply to reduce the number of clicks it takes to get them through the checkout. 

Define warm lead strategies

While abandoned carts are a sad sight for sales, they provide a second opportunity to engage with the customer on a truly individual and personalised level. Email marketing reminding them of their abandoned items can help give them a nudge, but it won’t always be enough to convert them.

Ensure you take extra care with your email marketing to entice these individuals back to your website.

Establish re-engagement strategies

Have avid shoppers fallen off the radar? Promote your flash sales in advance of the peak period and bring them back to your website to remind you of why they fell in love with your brand in the first place. Those who have a positive experience are more likely to keep you in mind when the next promotion season comes around. 

Likewise, make sure they’re familiar with any new updates, such as new collections, website features, payment types and delivery options.

Finalise offers and promotions

Peak season will be a time of agility, so completing as much testing as possible prior to the season hitting will help give you a solid foundation for your offers and promotions. It’s much harder to replicate past successful strategies now that the economic landscape has changed so significantly, so keep this in mind.

During peak season

With the groundwork laid, it’s now time to execute your strategy. Stay vigilant, monitor real-time trends and be ready to adapt to changing circumstances at the drop of a hat in order to increase your odds of success.

Keep one eye on competitors

If it’s not someone’s job to check your key competitors’ social and website feeds every day, it needs to be now. While we’re not suggesting you copy anything they’re attempting, you may be able to piggyback off a bad experience a customer has had, generate counter-promotions or discounts, or adapt your social media strategy.

Use design templates to stay reactive

Brand Activation Management tools such as BAM by Papirfly™ are trusted by retail marketers across the world to create, edit and share digital, social, video, email and print materials in a matter of minutes. Infinite on-brand creations, delivered by your in-house team, no design skills needed.

Use empathy mapping with customer service reps

Some of your best marketing insights will come directly from your customers. Introduce a logging system where representatives can provide interesting points directly to marketing and sales teams.

Stay on top of topical trends

Twitter and Tiktok are going to be a goldmine for content, so make sure one of your social execs is all over it. Ensure you have the breathing space to accommodate ad-hoc projects from them too, otherwise their energy and recommendations will be futile.

Use influencer discount codes to monitor the effectiveness

Trending sales or local factors could influence location-specific marketing. They may have on-the-ground insights that aren’t freely available at the head office level.

Maximise conversion rates

Your website will be the go-to ‘storefront’ for many customers, so it’s important those abandoned baskets are kept at a minimum by making the buying process as easy as possible.

Offer digital receipts to customers

A basic but powerful move. If you can get your in-store customers to take a digital receipt, you can ask them if they would be willing to receive marketing offers and promotions from you. It’s a helpful gesture for them and a beneficial first-party data collection strategy for you.

Post-peak season

As sales activity calms a little, it’s important to use the momentum of the promotional seasons as an opportunity to create long-term brand loyalty.

Offer additional points for purchases during the quieter period

Shoppers who signed up for loyalty and points schemes over peak periods may have less desire to spend once the season is over. Encourage purchases post-peak by offering double or triple points on sales during a specific timeframe.

Follow-up with customer experience surveys incentivised by a prize draw

This will be one of your key testing factors for how the peak period went from a customer perspective. When sending out the survey, be sure to communicate how many questions there are, how long it will take and the prize that’s up for grabs.

POS replacement and digital updates

Physical and digital points of sale in stores should be ready to go long before the season is over, however, this isn’t always realistic and sometimes logistics can get in the way.

Having BAM by Papirfly™ in place will help your teams get signage printed quickly without the need for head office to physically send anything out. Digital signage can be created and distributed to digital screens all from within the portal. 

It’s never too early to plan for next year’s peak period…

Get ahead of the chaos and take ownership of your retail marketing strategy. Discover a single tool that can do it all.

  • Give your teams freedom to create infinite in-store signage, website, social, email, video assets and more, all on-brand and delivered in minutes
  • Integrate BAM by Papirfly™ with your PIM system and easily update signage and brochures with accurate information
  • Localise promotions with regional or country-specific data 
  • Store and share assets with teams across the world

Discover BAM for retail marketers or book your demo today.


Retail MarketingLeave a Comment on Tech that can help retailers keep prices low

Tech that can help retailers keep prices low

Consumers have fallen upon hard times in recent months, with price rises across fuel, electricity, electronics, food and clothing making ordinary living more expensive than ever before.

As retailers, price rises are a necessity, as suppliers and manufacturers force you to pass on some of your additional costs to your customers. However, having to spend more to receive less is going to make purchasers much more selective about who they give their money to. That’s where your brand and marketing can help set you apart.

While marketing campaigns are an effective way of driving custom in difficult times, the reality is that retailers must explore other areas of the business to cut costs and ensure shoppers aren’t always the ones feeling the biggest squeeze during these financially uncertain times.

Retaining existing customers is going to be the greatest challenge and the biggest priority. There are only two sure-fire ways to do this: 

  • Keep costs low by increasing technology and automation
  • Learn more about what’s driving customer purchase decisions

This article will help you discover different technologies that can be adopted across the business, help you optimise your operations and cut costs within your retail product space.

A powerful CRM: build relationships and maximise sales opportunities

A CRM or Customer Relationship Management system underpins almost every element of customer communication. There may be features you are paying for which are not needed, or there could be features that – if in place – could save you a lot of time and only cost a nominal amount to add on. 

A semi-regular review of your CRM system’s features, needs and processes is integral to keeping on top of costs and tasks. 

Additionally, providing better training on how to analyse consumer insights within the CRM could lead to better decision-making and higher average transaction values (ATVs). These insights could be taken from audiences you’ve accrued from different campaigns, loyalty programme data, customer service conversations or when measuring engagement from your omni-channel marketing.

Solid project management: Meet deadlines and go to market quickly 

This may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many large retailers are yet to make the switch to more modern methods of project management. Software such as Monday can help those in head office and area managers effectively push projects through at pace.

This can remove several layers of ambiguity and minimise the risk of miscommunication to ensure deadlines are met every time. 

Marketing automation, AI and analytics: Using insight and data to drive business decisions

Automating processes within consumer purchasing, returns, inventory management and more will help save valuable time and improve the accuracy of reporting within your retail brand’s environment. 

Likewise, triggering automated marketing communications for particular actions can help improve the customer experience and increase what they spend on your products. For example, if they have forgotten that their online shopping basket is full, a quick email can give them a nudge to complete the transaction. 

Some retailers even go as far as using AI technology to analyse their retail store spaces and interact with their built environment to provide optimal temperature, air quality and lighting for shopping, while also ensuring that technology is powered down during off-peak hours or when the shop is closed.

Brand Activation Management: Reduce agency costs and bring asset creation in-house

Agencies are a necessity for large-scale creative campaigns and strategic work. But sometimes you just need to get things out quickly. Brand Activation Management is an all-in-one creation, education, management and storage portal. 

It gives teams, regardless of skill level, the ability to create on-brand video, digital, social, print assets and more. The easy-to-use interface allows individuals to create what they need from intelligent templates and only edit within the parameters that have been pre-defined.

This means you can go to market quicker and use your agency budget more effectively for strategic and topline creative work. Everything off the back of the campaigns, such as resizes, localisations and other edits can be easily executed by your in-house team.

The creation tool is also integrated with your PIM and ERP system, so all data and imagery that’s pulled into collateral is up-to-date and 100% accurate. 

Ready to make Brand Activation a reality for your retail brand?

Technology is queen when it comes to cutting costs and optimising every hour you have in the working day. BAM by Papirfly™ provides a game-changing way of working for retailers and their marketing teams. A tool that can be used by everyone from head office through to store-level managers. 

Discover more about the power of BAM for retailers or book your demo today.  

Retail MarketingLeave a Comment on The price point peak: creating campaigns that land during soaring costs of living

The price point peak: creating campaigns that land during soaring costs of living

With the cost of living spiralling, consumers are feeling financial strain. Needs, wants and motivations are changing, and marketers must keep up to ensure that campaign efforts don’t come across as tone-deaf or damaging to their brands.

For retail marketers, it’s not as easy as just promoting price reductions because the rising costs mean that many products are actually going up. And the products where retailers are able to offer competitive prices will likely be across the board, meaning that campaigns and brand activations need to be disruptive.

So if promotional offers are few and far between, what can retailers do to ensure they can stay competitive?

The answer has been at the centre of many retail marketing strategies for decades. It lies in value. But the term ‘adding value’ means more now than ever, and retailers will have to leverage the power of their brand in order to stand out.

Make a connection in a new way

Tons of retailers are going to be competing for the limelight, and a price slash here or discount code there simply isn’t going to cut it in a sea of similar offers. Brands need to work hard now to create a value-led strategy to keep people coming back to them for a single reason or multiple offerings.

These added extras are tokens recognised by consumers, and the more appealing the token, the more likely they are to commit to repeat business.

This could be in the form of a supermarket offering unlimited deliveries and priority slots for a monthly fee, a clothing retailer offering discount codes for trading in your old garments, or entering someone into prize draws every time they make an online purchase.

Let your values shine through

If, outside of the existing cost increases, your brand is already known to be more on the expensive side, you need to shout about why it’s a premium product now more than ever. 

Whether it’s showing your meticulous manufacturing process, shining a light on your local suppliers and distributors or all ways your product is helping to support a more sustainable world – it’s a great way to humanise your brand and encourage customers to feel an affinity with it in a new way and set you apart from comparable products.

Be empathetic

There’s a big difference between trying to add value and implying the customer’s problems could be solved by half price carrots. Anything you claim to be able to do for them must be backed up by action. People will find themselves in many different financial situations, some of which will be dire. 

For this reason, it’s more beneficial to use touchpoints as a chance to connect and inform, rather than a hard-sell. Active customers will appreciate the human touch and those that aren’t able to shop with you right now will remember your efforts on the other side, or choose to shop with you when they can.

Explain yourself

Everyone is aware of the price hikes, but not everyone understands why their favourite retailers are passing on the costs to them. Particularly if profits are reported, it can be difficult to justify price rises. 

That’s why it’s important to be open and honest about what the company is facing and why costs to consumers need to go up as a result. There will always be people unhappy with this, but being honest about the cost of fuel, increased costs from suppliers etc. is more valuable to a bigger demographic.

Provide reassurance

Communicating that products are of a certain quality or come with a particular guarantee will go a long way in giving consumers peace of mind. This could be highlighting where a piece of fruit was sourced from, the material quality of a t-shirt or providing a lifetime guarantee on a more luxurious purchase. 

Despite the need for cost relief, the demand for quality products isn’t going to fizzle out. Brands need to work hard to justify the costs by highlighting the benefits and origins of products.

Now’s the time for creativity

Deciding whether to go down an emotional or rational campaign route will be a coin toss for some retailers and a lengthy discussion for others. On the one hand, people want to understand the value you are going to offer them quickly, clearly and concisely.

On the other hand, with all the events that have been taking place in the world, consumers could do with some respite in the form of empathy or humour.

There will be a fine balance to be struck, but the difficult reality is that you will need to achieve both if you want to power through this blip.

React and create quickly with BAM by Papirfly™

BAM puts the power to create in the hands of your marketing teams. Videos, print, digital, emails, social. Teams can create campaign materials from scratch, edit existing assets with ease and adapt them for countries across the globe. No design experience needed. 

Produce vast amounts of content at scale for a single SaaS licence fee and explore every marketing opportunity available. Join over 500,000 global users from brands such as Unilever, HSBC, Vodafone and more. 

Find out more about BAM for retails or book your demo

Retail MarketingLeave a Comment on Is this the year in-store digital signage takes over?

Is this the year in-store digital signage takes over?

Times Square, New York.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind?

If vibrant flashes of advertising flooded your mind, you already understand just how impactful digital signage can be.

In-store retail media is the next generation of digital signage, and it’s being harnessed by brands worldwide, making the supplier/brand relationship more valuable to retailers than ever before. In-store media differs from traditional in-store digital signage in that it’s giving brands access to advertising channels right at the point of sale, in a new innovative way. This new revenue stream is estimated to be worth £1.7b annually for UK retailers and £11bn across EMEA.  

When consumers are browsing online, some of the most vital touchpoints for brands are at the bottom of the sales funnel. Whether it’s retargeting an individual after they engage with a website, or offering a discount to avoid them abandoning their purchase – the opportunities to convert are abundant.

As customers flock back to physical stores, brands are now partnering with retailers to create digital ‘bottom of funnel’ touchpoints through in-store retail media. And it may well be the future of in-store retail.

The challenges of in-store retail media

The initial investment is high

Without future-proofed execution, the physical retail store can be a difficult and costly channel for customer experience. But as suppliers and advertisers wake up to the engagement and personalisation opportunities available through digital signage, the long-term return on investment will soon outweigh any initial teething problems.

Creating a desirable offering

Many respected retail publications are predicting a sharp rise in this use of technology. But with so many options available to advertisers and brands, they are likely to be selective about which retailers they enter into partnerships with. Retailers need to have a strong offering, partner with the right technology vendors and be agile enough to react to brand needs.

This could mean offering promotional packages that extend outside of the physical store, onto websites or in joint, physical out-of-home marketing. Or it might be in relation to how stores capture and share data with their partners.

Adding value to the customer experience

While the additional revenue stream for retailers is desirable, there’s a risk that this new concept could interrupt or even irritate shoppers. That’s why it’s important the in-store retail media offers different ways to add to the shopping experience.

It might be ad-hoc promotions, touch screen shopping advice, or even technology that connects with the brand’s specific app to offer a more personalised service. Likewise, the placement of this digital signage at each point of the customer journey will be key.

What’s driving brands to take in-store retail media seriously?

Data can be a brand’s biggest commodity, but information collected based on in-store shoppers provides a rare insight into what influences their purchase at the point of purchase. This increased need for data and new ways to get in front of audiences who crave physical experiences makes in-store retail media a new and exciting opportunity.

While the challenges mentioned earlier will prove to be a barrier, at least initially, retailers that don’t start putting plans in place now could miss the boat. Playing catch-up to a competitor that started implementation even a month earlier could be detrimental to earnings.

The technology and the way retailers use it will also adapt fast, so every passing day will bring new learnings and new ways to engage more brands. Keeping ahead of the curve is paramount.

Innovations in digital signage happening right now

The innovation…

Irish company Musgrave has implemented an ESL (Electronic Shelf Label) solution from Pricer so they can dynamically and quickly change prices in a synchronised way.

Why is it significant?

As the cost of living rises, employers are paying more to secure staff and automating time-intensive manual tasks where possible. The return on investment on ESLs will eventually be high, as prices can be updated centrally in real-time, ensuring complete accuracy and allowing employees to be reallocated to more high-value tasks.

Likewise, this technology will pave the way for on-shelf digital promotions that inform and engage buyers during their shopping experience.

The innovation…

Walmart has introduced a new strategy called “Time Well Spent” in its incubator store. The aim is to keep customers engaged for longer and ultimately increase their cart spend. It uses big screens displays and other technology to provide customers with information in interesting ways.

Why is it significant?

While Walmart innovations are largely contained to North America, they usually set the precedent for large grocery stores and retailers around the world. Some of their digital signage is being used in ways previously unheard of, such as showing customers reviews of a product on screen when they pick it up from the shelf (lift-and-learn technology), right through to QR codes cross-selling Walmart’s own pet insurance in the pet section of the store.

The innovation…

The introduction of 5G was overshadowed by the pandemic in 2021, and was somewhat quietly rolled out across certain parts of the world. With so much more additional network power, retailers finally have the chance to embrace it and use it in situ, introducing more interconnected technology without having to worry about network reliance or interruption as much.

Why is it significant?

With so much technology available to enhance the customer experience and convert them, 5G will allow for a much more reliable introduction of screens throughout stores – in the form of return kiosks, signage, promotions and more.

How retailers can effectively harness digital signage technology

Advertisers are going to want to procure in-store media with as simple implementation and minimal manual work as possible. The offering is also going to need to be unique and competitive. Essentially, the brands you’re working with, and for, will have the upper hand, but once you become operationally sharp and develop a solid offering, you will soon start to understand why all the hard work was worth it.

Brand Activation Management technology such as BAM by Papirfly™ can help make complex workflows simple, and limit the amount of tech knowledge that’s needed in-store to make updating digital signage quick and accurate. As well as being a digital, print, social, video and email creation platform, that requires zero design skills to use, it offers specific features so that retail teams can benefit from all of this and more:

Learn more about BAM by Papirfly™ for retailers now.

Retail MarketingLeave a Comment on A retail marketer’s guide to in-store signage and experiences 

A retail marketer’s guide to in-store signage and experiences 

It’s one thing getting customers into your store with your marketing – it’s an entirely different ball game to create a unique in-store experience that keeps them coming back for more.

The debate on physical stores vs online retailing is one that has been discussed for many years, long before the pandemic took hold. And even though online sales have trumped in-store, we’ve learnt that consumers still very much crave the haptic shopping experience, but their expectations are much higher than before.

Let’s explore the different experiences that can be created in a retail store, their purpose and how in-store signage can help support its effectiveness.

Advice for creating an experience, not a store

Many brands have confused creating an in-store experience with simply remodelling their interiors. While modernising spaces can be beneficial for the customer, any drastic change should be backed by strategy and the data that informed that strategy. Here’s how to make sure your spaces hit the mark every time:

  • When updating an existing space, gain shopper input and suggestions – their insight could help you shape new stores. You could gain this from incentivised surveys, digital experience buttons, or by having real conversations on the shop floor
  • When planning every aspect of your store, think of it from a consumer-focused perspective. This means everything from ensuring your pricing is transparent, through to choosing the right curtains for your changing rooms
  • Try to offer something unique. Whether that’s style matching, product demonstrations or areas dedicated to your brand’s purpose – bring something memorable to the table
  • Ensure signage formats and selection allows for easy updating, window displays, in-store printed signs and digital screens need to remain current and interesting. A solution like BAM by Papirfly™ can be a valuable support here, enabling anyone to create and amend assets in a matter of minutes, so stores can immediately inform customers of new products and the latest offers
  • Every square foot is an opportunity to sell, but that doesn’t mean every inch needs to be product space. Creating areas where customers can relax and socialise can be just as powerful for sales, and creates a pleasant brand experience they won’t forget. From in-store phone charging stations, through to sofas in the changing room, you want customers to feel right at home
  • Even once a customer has made their selection and is ready to make a purchase, that doesn’t mean the deal is sealed. The checkout experience needs to be exceptional in order for your customer experience strategy to work. If a customer is greeted by a large queue or less-than-friendly associates, they may abandon their purchase and refrain from returning in the future

Help customers get the product they want, how they want it

In the age of Amazon Prime mentality, consumers often choose the delivery option that’s the quickest when ordering online. By bringing your physical stores into the online ordering process, you help to reinforce your brand’s physical presence while retaining convenience for your customers. Here are just some of the ways you can do this:

  • Offer faster home delivery when the product is available in a local store
  • Allow them to pick up orders from in-store, with the incentive of it arriving quicker
  • If your store has substantial outside space, offer curbside pickup
  • Give them the option to bring their online returns into the store – this allows them to choose a replacement product in-store, or spend their refund on an alternative purchase
  • If a customer makes a large purchase in-store, give them the option of reserving their selection, paying in-store and getting it delivered to their home address

Understanding the in-store customer

Even once stores are being enjoyed by customers, that doesn’t mean the hard work stops there. It’s important to have methods of gathering fresh insight and making sure your spaces are landing well with your audience.

  • Hold regular meetings with your sales team – they speak to customers every day and will understand their suggestions and gripes more than anyone
  • Get corporate staff on the shop floor once in a while. It can act as a great training exercise for them and helps keep them grounded when making decisions and interpreting insight from the sales team – in-person observation can provide invaluable information
  • Ensure everyone understands the ‘personality’ your brand is trying to portray – you want the customer to feel as though they’re with people that understand their needs and shopping for a brand that understands what they’re all about. BAM’s intelligent templates can help make it impossible for brand inconsistencies to creep in. Plus, it provides organisations with a single, central location to house all guidelines, so everyone working on your content knows exactly how to depict your brand’s identity
  • You can’t target everyone, or you’ll spend a fortune trying to make people happy. Focus on your core demographic, think about what makes them smile, what they care about – use this as a foundation for your decisions and try not to lose sight of them as your core customer base when receiving feedback

Signage to support the customer experience

We’re inundated with signage and promotional materials in everyday life. So much so that we wouldn’t understand how much we need it until it’s gone. Signage needs to span multiple stages of the buyer journey, including:

  • What makes them want to enter the store
  • How they navigate around your store and find the products they need
  • How they are led to new areas of the store to discover other product ranges
  • What keeps them in the store
  • The information available to them to help them make a purchase
  • How their purchase is reinforced post-checkout

Here are our key categories of signage focus for every retail store:


The most important signage of all. Help customers easily find checkouts, changing rooms, exits, products and more through simple and clear signage. Signage that isn’t properly considered or placed throughout the store will leave consumers frustrated and encourage them to leave the store without making a purchase. 


Finding the right balance of product promotion and your brand identity is a delicate art. Ensure these promotional spaces can be easily updated, and that there’s a process in-store for keeping on top of sales collateral. Leaving outdated campaigns up could leave consumers annoyed when products are no longer in stock. 

Experience-led and interactivity

Where possible, use signage to make connections with customers. You might promote the store’s Spotify playlist, use QR codes to give customers access to exclusive content, provide free digital magazines while they’re chilling out, or games to keep children entertained while their parents shop. The possibilities are endless, but very much depend on your brand’s vision and messaging. 

Making in-store experiences a reality

A retail store needs to run like clockwork in order to be successful, so tools for automation can help make the day-to-day more seamless. BAM by Papirfly™ gives you the tools to easily update digital and physical signage in-store, keep on top of campaigns and react quickly to customer demands.

Find out more about our retail solution here or book your demo today.

Retail MarketingLeave a Comment on Reshaping the retail catalogue

Reshaping the retail catalogue

As the world of retail becomes more and more digital, there doesn’t seem to be much room for the humble retail catalogue anymore. The far-flung days of flicking through Argos’ laminated book of wonders, or browsing the latest fashions on offer from Sears, feel like a lifetime ago.

Indeed, as online shopping’s grip on modern consumers continues to tighten, in recent years major brands, notably ArgosIKEA and H&M have shut down their magazine budgets and hopped aboard the eCommerce express. And there’s a lot of data backing this decision.

So, is it time to officially lay the retail catalogue to rest? Absolutely not. We have previously discussed how print still has a powerful role in retail, and the catalogue is a prime example. 

The tactile experience of flipping through page after page is something that is hard to replicate online, and helps brands engage customers in a way they can’t digitally. Where some brands like IKEA have moved away from catalogues, others have successfully doubled down.

Below, we explore why catalogues remain go-to collateral for numerous retailers, and the steps you can take to maximise the effectiveness of these assets moving forward.

The enduring relevance of retail catalogues

The retail catalogue has been with us since the 19th century and Tiffany’s Blue Book, enabling customers to browse a retailer’s range without having to step into a store. 

But, with the potential to contain all of this information – and much more – on the Internet, there are many who feel this novelty has worn off. Not to mention the potential problems caused by catalogues:

  • Once printed, they can’t be updated in real-time, meaning they can go out-of-date quickly
  • They can cost a substantial amount to write, design and print, depending on the catalogue’s reach
  • The environmental impact of printing catalogues can be heavy

However, flaws aside, there are many reasons why brands continue to rely on retail catalogues.

Physical and psychological sensation

Modern consumers are enticed by experiences, rather than cluttered inboxes of ads and sales pitches. While we wait for VR and AR technology to mature, the simple process of reading through a catalogue, touching and feeling what’s in front of you, can be a powerful pull for consumers.

Rather than be separated by a digital screen, customers play an active role in transitioning from one page to the next. For example, if you’re picking out furniture for a room, trying to drag your computer or laptop into the room to visualise the product in situ may not be feasible.

This helps you see yourself enjoying the products on offer at a deeper level. These experiences are more memorable, and therefore more likely to stay with customers.

Standing out in a digital landscape

While we can all appreciate the convenience and connectivity that the digitisation of retail has delivered, this online noise can become quite overwhelming. We can be left exhausted by streams of emails and social posts on a daily basis, with the opportunity to flick through a physical catalogue a welcome escape for many.

So, although the rise of eCommerce will continue, being able to move beyond the abundance of online content can help retailers stand out among their customers.

Appealing to particular demographics

For those actively shopping in the decades before digital took over, retail catalogues are as familiar as a childhood home. The power of nostalgia should never be underestimated, and it can help transport consumers to a simpler time in their lives. This is a feeling more and more people are craving, and catalogues can allow retailers to harness it to their benefit.

Yet, it is not only people with fond memories of browsing catalogues that can feel this pull. Millennials and Gen Z,who have grown up with digital as the norm, can also grow attached to retail catalogues, either as a brand new experience, or as an appreciation for something “retro”.

Holds customers’ attention

Compare the above asset to the number of digital ads or sales emails that are immediately closed or overlooked by people online each day. Customers feel compelled to read through a catalogue – it is a more personal, engaging experience. As such, this increases the amount of time a customer engages with a brand and their products.

Unlocks opportunities for omnichannel marketing

Finally, as more retailers seek to create seamless transitions between the physical and digital for their customers, catalogues offer a great way to achieve this.

By incorporating QR codes, social media tie-ins and other ways to link catalogues to the online world, modern retailers are providing the omnichannel experience that today’s customers crave, helping everyone enjoy the best of both worlds.

How 3 brands are still harnessing retail catalogues


C&A has embraced the blending of print and digital in their catalogues, delivering personalised magazines to customers linked to their individual Facebook account. This meant that, as people browsed their catalogue, they could hit a like button beneath a product, and this would account for an actual like on a corresponding Facebook advert.

While this was a fun quirk for customers, it also gave C&A invaluable digital data on products that were most popular with their audience.


Gadget and gifts retailer Brookstone has actively used QR codes within their catalogues to empower their readers to seamlessly transition into their digital world. With each code, customers can access more information and imagery on a desired product, as well as customer reviews to help reinforce their purchasing decision.

Condé Nast

As the home to some of the most popular magazines worldwide, including Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair, Condé Nast’s analytics program within their digital catalogues offer crucial insights, such as:

  • How often catalogues are viewed
  • The number of visits received
  • The time of day catalogues were accessed
  • Which products were viewed and purchased online

What can you do to unlock your retail catalogues’ potential?

Embrace omnichannel

As the examples highlighted above demonstrate, retail catalogues offer an excellent opportunity to cross streams between the physical and digital.

Whether it is akin to Brookstone’s inclusion of QR codes to allow readers to immediately locate and purchase items online, or C&A’s clever Facebook integration, catalogues allow brands to prolong the journey their customers take with them.

This both ties in with the unstoppable rise of eCommerce, while giving customers escapism from the digital realm through a physical magazine.

Lock down data accuracy

One of the biggest problems in producing retail catalogues is, if they are printed with typos or inconsistent branding, the cost of rectifying this can be huge.

Software such as BAM by Papirfly™ can help ensure that catalogues reach the printers in pristine conditions, with no mistakes and no discrepancies. Easy-to-use, pre-set templates make it virtually impossible for users to produce something that doesn’t reflect your brand values.

Furthermore, PIM and ERP system integration guarantees that all product information and data incorporated within your catalogue is up-to-date and accurate.

Target your audience

Another criticism of catalogues is that they were a scattergun approach – costs to produce and distribute these could be high, and reach people that were completely uninterested with them.

If you have access to clearer data on your customers’ preferences and commitment to your brand, you can target who are most likely to appreciate the arrival of a catalogue.

When Amazon started producing holiday toy catalogues, these were targeted to children’s parents based on the children’s age groups and the TV shows they viewed. This tailored approach helped ensure that the catalogues were relevant to their audience, leading to more successful conversions.

Use sustainable materials

Finally, with an increasing appreciation towards the future of the environment and sustainability, it is beneficial that retailers focus on producing catalogues out of recycled materials.

This removes the concerns customers and others may have surrounding the sustainability of retail catalogues, while your brand can still reap the benefits that these resources can offer.

Revamp your retail marketing with BAM

We hope this has illustrated that the catalogue still has a meaningful role in any retailer’s marketing mix. In a world that is rapidly growing dependent on digital, these printed assets can provide customers with unique, powerful experiences, which may keep them engaged far longer with your brand than a flurry of online ads and emails.

If you would like to focus more attention on catalogues and other printed collateral, but are concerned about how this could affect your budget, BAM by Papirfly™ makes asset creation faster, more cost-effective, and more secure.

  • Produce all assets from a single platform, including campaigns, POS signage, digital marketing and more
  • Increase turnaround times by bringing all production in-house – anyone can use BAM successfully, regardless of design expertise
  • Create sizes tailored at store level, allowing you to proactively respond to localised demands
  • Effectively organise your in-store promotions, briefs and timelines in an intuitive campaign planner
  • Establish a central, global resource for teams to view, share, edit and reuse assets

Accelerate your retail marketing like never before – speak to our team about the full benefits of BAM, or discover them for yourself by booking a demo.

Retail MarketingLeave a Comment on How is retail marketing changing?

How is retail marketing changing?

Retail has undergone constant evolution since the industrial revolution. In the last 25 years alone we’ve seen the rise, fall and fight of the high street and the eclipsing growth of online shopping. While brick-and-mortar stores have been struggling for some years now, the recent pandemic has the potential to reshape the retail industry as we know it.

What we’re seeing isn’t an even scale of hardship, with different types of retailers finding themselves in disparate positions on the crisis spectrum. Non-essential retailers have had to close their physical premises and diversify their online offering. Essential retailers such as supermarkets were initially buckling under increased demand and are now flourishing in the face of global adversity. When retail stores are eventually allowed to reopen, there will likely be all sorts of measures and changes to implement.

Loyalties to retailers which have been built over years through relentless marketing campaigns, PR and customer experience initiatives have the potential to be strengthened or broken depending on the actions retailers take during these times. As a huge proportion of purchases lean towards food, drink and essentials, and amidst heavy economic uncertainty, retailers that fall into the non-essential category have to fight hard to keep their relationships with customers.

Big chains coping with a tsunami of increased demand such as supermarkets need to take into consideration that the experience they receive at the store will largely affect their choice on returning. If I had been going to Tesco my whole life, but then endured a few bad experiences in the crisis, I might vary where I shop at or choose a new supermarket entirely – no matter how great their campaigns are.

Here are the four fundamentals that I’ve observed successful retailers doing and how these actions might help to shape the future of retail marketing as we know it.

Doing good

Those remaining true to their values are setting the world ablaze with kind and heroic acts. In the UK in particular, supermarkets are leading the way with feel-good initiatives and campaigns. Whether it’s helping to feed the community by donating leftover goods, creating different opening hours for more vulnerable people or going out of their way to ensure cleanliness and proper sanitation, many have stepped up to the plate and done their bit to help their communities.

What’s also interesting is the narrative of the marketing campaigns. While each supermarket has come together to tackle logistical issues such as delivery driver shortages, they are ultimately still vying for the attention of the public. A format that’s become commonplace on our screens is a grid of customers and employees leading the messaging. The focus has firmly shifted from peddling products and price cuts, to creating a sense of community and belonging.

Outside of food retail, many stores are going dark in order to fulfil the online markets. Many retailers are introducing free delivery, extended returns policies and some are even diversifying their products. In terms of the latter, one example is Brewdog who has turned their attention to producing hand sanitiser as they already have the facilities to produce the alcohol content. While each of these moves will favour the brands commercially, they are underpinned by a genuine desire to help as much as they possibly can.

In the future, retail brands will be remembered for their actions and what they did to provide respite during these times. Marketing activity will of course be affected for some time; as retailers share much-needed good news stories and inspirational campaigns, everything else will temporarily fall by the wayside. But sooner or later, this narrative will become tired, and consumers will seek to once again be surprised by humourous or even irreverent content.  

Looking after employees

A spotlight is firmly cast on retailers during these times, with many held to question whether their workforce is considered essential. Opinions aside, those who are looking after employees are likely to be spoken about positively online. Those who have gone against what the general public believe to be right will be the topic of many a Twitter debate, and also find themselves subject to press and media scrutiny – a PR disaster nobody can afford right now.

While many of the generous acts that have taken place are a genuine token of gratitude, it’s worth examining how this will work favourably for the employer brand of large retailers in the long term. The next generation of employees is closely watching retailers on the world stage, and if they like what they see, this will be remembered when the dust settles and they consider their next career move.

This includes those who are, as difficult as it is to say, profiting from the crisis (out of their control, admittedly). Giving employees pay raises and bonuses is incredibly important from an outside perspective, any retail brand excelling financially and not redistributing the wealth could be perceived in a very negative light and could put off well-needed prospective employees. 

With limited access to professional camera crews and video editors, I’ve also seen many retail brands focusing on putting their employees front and centre, sharing their expertise and championing great work. Positivity in retail marketing is going to go a long way in keeping consumers engaged. Offers and discounts are only going to go so far in creating a rapport with customers – expectations have risen exponentially from all sides. Retailers have been attempting for years to step away from being faceless organisations, and now we’re getting to know their employees, this could go a long way in making them more personable.  

Online focused

With many in the retail industry lacking a full physical presence, online and digital marketing is becoming ever-more competitive to grab market share. Likewise, those who are inundated with visitors have to make allowances to make sure their site can cope with capacity, as seen with the introduction of ‘virtual queuing’.

Website features are adapting for the here and now, but we could see many of them here to stay in the future. Many fashion brands are much more focused on pushing ‘of the moment’ styles such as work-from-homewear as opposed to just seasonal. Retailers are introducing much more interactive product listings, with 360-degree visuals, more intuitive size guide suggestions and close-ups of materials in absence of real models or seeing a product in-store.

Pre- and post-purchase, users are more likely to be met with several notices around delivery times and manage expectations throughout. Just because we’re dealing with a very serious matter, I believe brands shouldn’t shy away too much from their tone of voice. Take Paperchase for example; rather than going with the traditional ‘COVID-19 update’ as their leading header copy, they’ve opted for ‘We’re working our socks off’, before delving deeper into delivery timelines.

Adapting to survive

Ultimately, retailers and retail marketers have a monumental task on their hands. On the one hand, having to be fully focused on the here and now, whilst remaining agile enough to be reactive; on the other hand, have one eye also firmly on the future. Knowing what steps to take really depends on which part of the retail industry you sit in.

Here are 4 quick wins you can implement to help with your retail marketing now and in the future:

#1 If you find yourself in a situation where marketing budgets are being cut, ensure at the very least you optimise your spending to maintain brand recognition.  

#2 If your marketing analytics is telling you people aren’t converting and you’ve tried nurturing the best you can, think about ways to create ‘favourites’, ‘loved’ or ‘saved’ products. A wishlist can keep them engaged with your products even if they’re on the cusp of leaving the site.

#3 Look for cost-effective ways to diversify and work to understand people’s pain points in order to find new product opportunities. One great example of this is Iceland, who brought out several frozen alternatives to McDonald’s, Nandos and other well-loved takeaways using existing products. It didn’t take much to pull this off and it gave the chain an entirely new advantage over their competitors.

#4 Seek out insight on how your competitors are responding to the crisis. Anywhere they are holding back or making cuts could be an opportunity for you to capitalise on – should you be in a position to do so. It was recently revealed that Amazon is trying to limit purchases and as a result has greatly reduced ad spend on Google, paving the way for many others to take the spotlight.

What’s next for retail marketing?

If I had a magic 8 ball, it would most certainly say ‘Ask again later’. Much of the future of the retail industry lies very much in the hands of our governments, and the timely steps they take to help ease retailers back into the new normal. In the meantime, those who are in a position to, can market tactfully through the madness, all the while being proactive and reactive to the changing needs of consumers and the world around us. 

For that reason, I’m incredibly proud that BAM by Papirfly™ is helping retail brands around the world still deliver high-quality, studio-standard assets to get their key messages out during this crucial time.

Retail MarketingLeave a Comment on Retail products that went from challenger brand to market leader

Retail products that went from challenger brand to market leader

A challenger brand doesn’t conform to its market’s expectations. They find an aspect that cuts through the noise of their competitors, be it their vision, tone of voice or products.

This unusual mindset sets it apart from more established brands, and even the most unlikely, unnecessary product can slip through with the right direction, ambition and vision.

There are 3 principles that help to determine if a brand is a ‘challenger’ brand.

#1 The market

The position of the brand in the market has to be placed outside of the status quo. There needs to be an ideal, concept or way of working that the challenger brand is re-inventing or opposing. This means that they won’t capture an entire market – just those who are interested in what they’re proposing. 

#2 The state of mind

This is the mentality or premise that the brand was founded on and continues to drive as part of their growth vision. Whatever part of the world or industry they’re trying to change, it’s not a fad to get them on the map, it’s a long-term brand driver. 

#3 The rapid success

Because the offering is quite unusual or presented in a unique way, challenger brands tend to garner a lot of attention, and quickly. This can lead to initial and sometimes ongoing success. 

The challenger brands that have become market leaders 

Tony’s Chocolonely

The last thing the world thought it needed was another chocolate brand gracing the shelves, especially one that’s higher priced. But that’s where Tony’s Chocolonely stepped in and made us all take notice. 

Over 13 years ago their story started when journalist Tuen van de Keuken discovered the harrowing truths behind child slavery in the cocoa industry. He created a TV programme about it, was repeatedly shot down when trying to encourage big brands to rethink their slave labour practices, and ultimately tried to get himself prosecuted (it’s a wild ride, you can read more about it here). 

But in 2005, Tuen tried to prove that chocolate can be delicious and affordable without engaging in unethical labour practices and produced the first chocolate bars under the Tony’s Chocolonely brand. 

He soon discovered that a fairtrade status only gets you so far, and has fought continuously to bring new ideas and morally conscious processes into the chocolate producing industry. The company has now rightfully earned its place in Christmas stockings and everyday snacking. It took several years to get there, but their success in Europe in particular has been rapid. 

Magic Spoon

Another area of the supermarket shelf you might not expect to see a new face is the cereal aisle. Across the world brands have taken a foothold in specific countries, so you wouldn’t be surprised to see Kelloggs and Shredded Wheat in the UK, Cheerios and Cap’n Crunch in the U.S., whole wheats, multi-grains and mueslis across many other parts of Europe – the list goes on. But what U.S.-based Magic Spoon has done is deliciously simple.

The founders discovered that the average American consumes 100 bowls of cereal per year. And with kids one of the biggest lovers of the breakfast treat, owners Greg and Gabi felt it was time that a tasty cereal came onto the market that fell outside of the traditional mix of grains, sugar and GMOs. 

They combined nostalgia-inducing branding with healthy, filling and tasty breakfast cereal, and at the height of the pandemic saw their success skyrocket. Their price point is high, but so is the value they offer, outstripping competition when it comes to protein, net carbs, sugar, grain-free and gluten-free features. And while you may only see the Magic Spoon boxes on U.S. shelves right now, we’re sure their success will see them move further afield in the not-too-distant future. 

Beyond Meat

For decades, meat alternatives had a bad reputation. They were either tasteless and unappealing, or so over-processed and pumped with salt and fat that they were considered to be more unhealthy than some junk food.

What lots of brands got wrong for so long is that they didn’t want their products to resemble or taste like meat, to not offend non-meat-eaters, but Beyond Meat came in and changed the game. They created a burger so tasty and environmentally conscious that it’s now used by many big chain restaurants, including McDonald’s.

What was interesting about Beyond Meat’s strategy, is that they weren’t necessarily going after the vegetarian market – they were monopolising the world’s newfound moral compass that saw just how detrimental the meat industry is for the planet. What made this move so genius is that not only did they capture the vegetarian market, they also switched many meat-eaters onto the product. They encouraged other large meat alternative brands to rethink their recipes, and we’re now seeing more high-quality substitutes than ever before.

Beyond Meat did get an exceptional amount of investment – some of which was from Bill Gates – so while it doesn’t fall into our ‘underdog’ category for that reason, its mission has completely transformed attitudes in both the meat and meat alternatives market. Compared to a meat-based burger, they use 99% less water during processing, 93% less land and 46% less energy – a very worthy mission that’s made them what they are today. 


Let’s move away from the food industry and into the feminine hygiene category. After noticing that just a handful of brands had the monopoly on these products, the founders of Ohne were annoyed with every pad they purchased being decorated with unnecessary pink hearts and filled with harsh fragrances. They now create both organic and sustainable period products, as well as distributing natural pain relievers and hormone balancers.

They attribute their success in a flooded market to the way they are framing the conversation. They’ve grown revenues by 240%, doubled their Instagram following and donated over 50,000 tampons through a crowdfunding campaign. They’ve opened wider conversations that other market-leading brands simply weren’t having. They’ve cut through with bold, powerful branding and a tone of voice to match. This, along with buckets of hard work, is helping them grow exponentially in the UK – and could see them on their way to becoming a market leader in no time. 

Are challenger brand strategies the future?

The success of challenger brands such as those listed, and even the likes of Tesla, Brewdog and Ovo, can teach even the most established brands a thing or two about success. Where investment, time and resources are no object, a challenger brand can effortlessly trail into a market-leading position – but very rarely are all three readily available. 

We’re likely to see even more challenger brands emerge, particularly in the food and beverage space, as plucky entrepreneurs look for new ways to make the world a better place. The food and beverage industries are among the highest consumables on the planet, so logically this is where many are looking to break into. 

Tools such as BAM by Papirfly™ are helping established and growing brands take control and activate their brand from the outset. Keeping everything on-brand, creating infinite print, digital and video assets, and so much more. Find out more or book your demo today.