Catalog Doctor: The Amazing, Portable, Low-Cost, Handheld Device for Delivering Sales
Keep your eye out for trends in behavior when determining your catalog circulation strategy. For example, customers who first came to your brand via an online channel and purchased via the web can actually perform better when mailed fewer catalogs.
Catalogs Communicate Your Brand Better
A catalog offers a larger canvas on which to meld your brand message, products, offers, support editorial, testimonials, etc. You can have all of this on a two-page spread with no clicking, no decision tree, then do it all over again on the next spread in an entirely different, fun, creative way. And what if you want consumers to read your guarantee, your mission statement, your history or your made-in-the-USA story? Many folks looking at your catalog cover will turn inside to see your branding story on pages two and three, but few people on your homepage will click on a link to the same story. Your brand can come across both better and more pervasively in your catalog, helping increase brand interest and long-term brand loyalty.
Catalogs Have a Longer Shelf Life
A catalog can keep delivering sales over a longer period of time than other sales channels. Let's say you're mailing a catalog every three weeks. You'll continue to get sales from each catalog for six weeks to eight weeks or more before the sales taper significantly. A catalog is one ad that keeps on giving.
Catalogs Can Sell More Effectively
It's easier to display products in a catalog in ways that get consumers thinking about how your products can improve their lives. Most e-commerce websites' product pages are fairly structured, with each product having a main view, alternate views (that need to be clicked on), details (the copy also needs to be clicked on) and customer reviews (another tab to click on). Consider a catalog page. It's unstructured. You can have a giant headline if you want; a photo that shows an entire room setting; five mix-and-match pieces of apparel in every combination; a testimonial with giant quote marks; a big red circle that says "Save 25% when you buy the set"; a sidebar telling a "made from recycled tires" story. The possibilities are endless, and you can have it all in a beautiful, eye-catching design. Your catalog page can drag the viewer in to the point that their mouth waters, making placing an order unresistable. It's easier to captivate a consumer with your catalog.
Susan J. McIntyre is Founder and Chief Strategist of McIntyre Direct, a catalog agency and consultancy in Portland, Oregon offering complete creative, strategic, circulation and production services since 1991. Susan's broad experience with cataloging in multi-channel environments, plus her common-sense, bottom-line approach, have won clients from Vermont Country Store to Nautilus to C.C. Filson. A three-time ECHO award winner, McIntyre has addressed marketers in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, has written and been quoted in publications worldwide, and is a regular columnist for Retail Online Integration magazine and ACMA. She can be reached at 503-286-1400 or email@example.com.