When it comes to the battle of print vs. e-media, some companies just need to go through the cycle. Over the years, there have been many examples of companies (retailers, in particular) that have eliminated their catalogs or other print marketing materials to go exclusively digital. However, when sales take the inevitable dip, their print shows back up again, usually in a modified, more targeted form. Is JoAnn Fabrics the next to go through the rotation?
My mother is currently beside herself that her favorite store no longer sends out printed circulars. Apparently, if you want coupons, you either need a smartphone (which she doesn’t have) or must sign up to receive the coupons by email. But JoAnn’s must really be discouraging print because, in order to sign up for the emails in the store, you need to fill out this form in pale green that is very hard to read.
I teased her that if you’re not a smartphone owner, JoAnn’s doesn’t care about you, to which she replied that it’s the older generation — where there is a lower penetration of smartphones — that tends to buy the most fabric. So if you’re going to cut out part of your audience, you don’t want to cut out the demographic that tends to buy the most from you. I knew I liked my mother.
I also find the use of the pale green interesting because just earlier today I was watching a webinar on color strategy. The presenter, Jack Bredenfoerder, pointed out that the physiology of the observer is one of the factors to be taken into account. For example, the higher incidence of color blindness among men can be a factor in designing packaging for men’s products, and as in this case, there is a challenge for older eyes in reading pale colors. My mother kayaks ocean waters when she’s not in front of the sewing machine, and even she couldn’t read it. For this portion of its active, creative, fabric-buying audience, JoAnn’s is making it doubly difficult to access its promotions.
All around, this move by JoAnn’s raises a lot of questions about print vs. e-media, channel optimization, and designing for target demographics.
What are your thoughts?