Two years ago, J.C. Penney Co. unveiled its latest branding slogan, “It’s all inside,” to illustrate to consumers that no matter which channel they shop — retail, catalog or online — they’ll find the same from Penney in terms of merchandise, service and the overall brand.
No other companies have copied Penney’s slogan, of course, but many have followed the same path, recognizing that with more orders coming online, customers need to know that regardless of which channel they choose, they can expect a similar experience.
Easy Does It
Some catalogers have been making subtle alterations in their approaches to the print book to align it more closely with customers’ online shopping experiences — for example, by making frequent online references to the print edition and showing many of the same photos both online and offline. Many more catalogers, however, remain intent on ensuring their print editions clearly communicate the same message to consumers as their other marketing channels.
“Both the look and feel of our print catalog are closer to the Web site than they’ve been in the past,” says Martin McClanan, president of San Francisco-based art supplies and gifts cataloger Flax Art & Design. “We have more of the same kinds of graphic treatments, color sections and titling. If, for instance, you’re talking about barbecue tools for the summer on your Web site, you talk about it in your catalog, too. It’s just good integrated branding and cross-channel marketing. If you organize it on Web functionality, you do it that way in the catalog; if you organize it as lifestyle, focused on casual themes, you create that same style in both channels.”
Calculate and Coordinate
Lois Boyle, president of Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting firm J. Schmid & Associates, expands on that point, noting that the most important change catalogers should make with regard to their print books is how they gauge sales results.