H&M Ends its Print Catalog After 39 Years
Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) said it ceased publication of its print catalog after 39 years. The move follows dwindling interest from customers in flipping through glossy pages of inventory when they can find the latest deals with their mobile phones or computer screens. H&M said abolishing the catalog will contribute to cutting back on raw materials. At its peak, the catalog was distributed in 18 markets.
Total Retail's Take: Once an effective marketing channel and sales driver for H&M, the print catalog became an outdated, expensive tool for the fast-fashion retailer to engage and sell to its primarily millennial customer base. Like many retailers serving younger consumers, H&M has seen its customers’ shopping behaviors change in recent years, becoming more digital in nature, with a particular preference for shopping via their mobile phones. Therefore, the impact of H&M's print catalog was declining. No longer was it driving purchases, both online and offline, at a rate to justify its expensive price tag. However, this isn't to suggest that print catalogs no longer have a place in today's omnichannel marketing mix. It comes down to the financials, and they're different for every brand. In fact, many digital-native brands, including Amazon.com, Wayfair, Everlane, and Bonobos, have recently tested print catalogs. Armed with customer data, including transaction history, many retailers are effectively using catalogs to target their best customers. Much like digital marketing, the print catalog can now be data-driven, leading to higher ROI.