Kurt Salmon bluntly asks what many companies are quietly wondering — “Is the Catalog Dead?”
He just as bluntly answers his own question — “Not in the omichannel world.”
It may be easy to assume that the importance of printed catalogs is dwindling, especially in light of the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) figures that show catalog mailings are at their lowest volume since the DMA started keeping track of this data in 2001.
Yet Salmon gives some hard data and solid examples that back up his assertions that catalogs remain a critical and powerful component in the marketing mix. For example, when Land’s End tried to cut costs on their catalogs by cutting their mailing list, they took a $100 million dollar hit in sales.
As Salmon asserts, “Consumers spend more money when they’re shopping with a catalog in hand – even when they’re shopping online.
It is possible to cut your catalog expenses without damaging your sales, as shown by Williams-Sonoma and their 1/16 of an inch page-width reduction, which cut costs and had no discernible impact on sales. They’ve also added more non-sales messaging to their catalog, making the entire experience a “more compelling story” in the words of a former team member.
Forward-thinking catalog retailers are using the realities of the omnichannel experience to bolster sales and spur interest while using its catalog content as social marketing collateral.
“J. Crew has moved to marry its catalog with the ultimate online inspiration hub for shoppers: Pinterest. The retailer posted its entire September catalog on the pinboard-style site, allowing Pinners to pre-order items from the fall line a day before the printed version was released,” explains Salmon.
Fantastic idea, especially if you can find the right platform where your content translates to the audience’s interests.
If your business prints a catalog, take the time to read Salmon’s full article and see if any of the ideas can help you save costs without risking sales.