McCann and iPaper partner up in Germany

February 16, 2022
Rebecca Wine profile picture
Matt Whitby
  • The cost of producing and distributing printed leaflets is a major challenge for retailers
  • Research shows German retailers’ use of digital leaflets is behind European standards 
  • Many retailers’ leaflets aren’t shoppable or use inspirational content
  • McCann and iPaper have partnered up to help retailers make this transition from printed leaflets to digital promotional marketing

The partnership brings together the creative and production capacity of world-class full-service agency McCann Worldgroup with the industry-leading SaaS technology of iPaper. Together, the two companies aim to support German retailers by addressing the challenge of producing and distributing weekly costly promotions, through transitioning to digital media channels. 

Research shows 2021 was a turning point in retail communication. According to a survey by the EHI Retail Institute among the CMOs of the 50 leading German retail companies, for the first time the printed handout did not land in first place in the ranking of retail advertising activities.

McCann Germany and iPaper analyzed the marketing of the 50 largest advertising retail companies in Germany and compared their tactics with insights from +4m monthly sessions of the iPaper platform.

The conclusions show, although almost every retailer uses digital leaflets, they have not yet exploited the full potential. 

Highlights from the research findings include (further details below):  

  1. Most retailers use only the most basic functionalities of digital leaflets: Although almost all retailers also offer their printed leaflets as PDFs, only few retailers use additional functionalities. Only 27% offer additional product information on clicks within the digital leaflet.
  2. The use of digital leaflets is increasing: Shoppers viewing digital catalogs of leading retailers has increased by more than 40% between 2020 and 2021. 
  3. Value-adding content has a significant impact on usage: Value-added content, or enrichments have a significant impact on usage time and conversion. 35% of shoppers click on animated shopping cart icons in digital leaflets. Video and animations can in some cases more than double the time spent in the leaflet.
  4. German retailers’ use of digital leaflets is far behind international standards: Best practices often come from smaller markets or from medium-sized retailers who use the digital leaflet to highlight their product range competence.

McCann and iPaper have partnered up to help retailers make this transition from printed catalogs to digital promotional marketing.

As long as people are wondering what to shop, there is a need for retail communication. But it is not enough to simply transfer the printed handout 1:1 into the digital world," says Christian Bihn, Managing Director Strategy, McCANN.

"It is much more about supporting people in their shopping planning through digital added value.  For example, as a shopper, I don't just want the best price, but also good value for money. Digital content offers retailers the opportunity to showcase the performance and quality of their offer in a more attractive way and to serve customers' need for information and inspiration."

The data is clear. Between 2020-21 over 40% more shoppers in Germany turned to digital leaflets to browse retail promotions," says Mark S. Rasmussen, CEO of iPaper.

"The potential opportunity for retailers is huge, but to take full advantage they should add more enriching content and the option to buy products directly from the leaflet. This has been proven to increase the time shoppers spend browsing the leaflet and the click through rate. With our insights, we can guide retailers on the best strategies to optimize their digital leaflets to create even more value." 

Although the research from German ecommerce association BEVH shows the German ecommerce market could grow to more than €110 billion in 2022, there are little data-driven insights and consulting available to support this growth. By joining forces, McCann and iPaper aim to fill that gap. Providing joint customer offerings, live events, webinars and thought leadership. 

The partnership between McCann and iPaper aims to solve four key challenges facing retailers. 

  1. Increasing marketing efficiency: Reduce costs and increase scalability of digital media through streamlining internal processes and workflows.

  2. Connecting analog and digital: Helping retailers transition from analog media such as printed catalogs, radio and TV to digital media using a mix of social media, digital catalogs and other channels.

  3. Content: Use industry-leading experience to help create the best digital content that is engaging and inspiring. Connecting top funnel branding with bottom funnel marketing.

  4. View into the future: Provide insights into the future of ecommerce shopping. Support retailers showcase digital promotions to create multichannel shopping experiences.

About McCann Worldgroup

McCann Worldgroup, part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG), is a creatively driven global marketing company whose professionals are united across 100+ countries by a single mission: To help brands earn a meaningful role in people's lives. McCann Worldgroup was named “Global Agency of The Year” by Adweek magazine, “Network of the Year” by the Cannes Lions, the world's most creatively-effective marketing services company by the Effie Awards (for three consecutive years), “Global Network of the Year” by Campaign Magazine and “Network of The Year” by The Webby Awards two years in a row. The network comprises McCann (advertising), MRM (science/technology/relationship marketing), Momentum Worldwide (total brand experience), McCann Health (professional/dtc communications), CRAFT (production), Weber Shandwick (public relations) and FutureBrand (consulting/design).

About iPaper

iPaper is a Danish based Software as a Service (Saas) company with more than 15 years of experience creating digital marketing solutions. Supporting over 1,200 customers globally to digitize retail leaflets and direct selling catalogs. Automation technology enables retailers to make their digital leaflets interactive and shoppable, helping to scale demand for products. 

Further details of the research findings

1. Most retailers use only the most basic functionalities of digital leaflets

90% of the retailers use digital leaflets. 86% are on leaflet portals and 76% on the companies websites. 72% of the retailers use both portal and website.

38% of the digital leaflets use additional editorial content in the form of recipes, tutorials, or tips, but only 9% use the possibility of moving images content for this.

Furthermore, the leaflets often lead to the website of the retailer. For about 60% of the leaflets, there is an unnecessary break in the customer journey by switching from the leaflet to the website and back. Only 27% offer additional product information on clicks within the digital leaflet.

The possibility of using product animations to showcase the product is only part of 9% of the leaflets.

About 38% have a shopping cart function that makes it possible to put certain products in a shopping cart. To make a purchase, all of them direct shoppers to the website – none of the retailers offer a direct shopping function within the leaflet.

2. The use of digital leaflets is increasing

During the busy Christmas months of November and December, four leading retailers increased the share of shoppers viewing their online leaflets by 42% between 2020 and 2021. 

With yearly revenues in Germany of greater than EUR 1 billion, the four retailers rely on their catalogs to reach shoppers. But with hundreds of thousands of monthly views of their digital leaflets, the format represents a growing importance for retailers to continue to transition more marketing from print to digital channels.

This trend is similar across Europe. With an increase in views of digital catalogs across more than 15 leading European retailers, up by more than 38% between 2020 and 2021. While there are differences across industries such as home furniture, grocery, drugstores and electronics, the overall trend clearly indicates an increase in the number of shoppers turning to digital catalogs to browse offers. 

3. Value-adding content has a significant impact on usage

The use of moving images and additional product information has a positive influence on the use of digital leaflets. An analysis of digital leaflets on the iPaper platform has shown that value-added content, or enrichments, have a significant impact on usage time and conversion.  35% of shoppers click on animated shopping cart items. Shoppers view an average of 60% of the content of a leaflet, averaging more than 190 products. 

4. German retailers’ use of digital leaflets is far behind international standards 

Best practices often come from smaller markets or from medium-sized retailers, who use the digital handout as an efficient tool to highlight their product range competence. 

The iPaper leaflet is designed to be as engaging as possible. By adding enrichments retailers can encourage shoppers to click on products to gain additional information. 

For example, the digital Christmas leaflet from the Danish department store Bilka was enhanced with online videos and 360° product views for Christmas. This allowed children to immerse themselves in the play worlds in advance before the products landed on their wish lists. 

Another best practice example is the consumer-electronics retailer POWER. Known throughout Scandinavia for matching every competitor's price. Via a dynamic flipbook, the prices update automatically  every 15 minutes, always offering the most attractive price.

Digital leaflets also offer new sales potential for direct sales. Stanhome works according to the Tupperware principle. They optimized their catalog for a mobile-first user journey. Customers can browse through the assortment via smartphone and place their orders in a virtual shopping cart. At check-out, the shoppers send the order to a sales partner via WhatsApp.

Mark S. Rasmussen sees the increasing complexity as the reason for the reluctance to try out new functionalities in the digital handout.

“Developing a leaflet with an average of 40 pages with more than 300 products is a long process with many steps. According to many decision-makers, the integration of additional features and content creates additional complexity that the already lean production teams cannot cope with. By using enrichment automation processes and optimizing workflows, however, many of these steps can already be done in a manner of minutes.”

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