10 Principles of Catalog Shopping for Retailers
On the other hand, small best-of collections in economical 32- or 48-page formats still prove uncompetitive with larger offerings.
Today, consumers favor larger, saddle-stitched catalogs with at least 64 pages up to the 1-lb, perfect-bound size of about 150 pages. In these larger formats, upward of 1,000 product blocks can be shown with perhaps 5,000 SKUs. This is more comprehensive than most stores can show, but far less than the limitless selection possible online.
8. Promote aggressively across channels using your catalog. Try the following:
• place a store locator in prominent spots in your catalog and site;
• mention in the catalog that additional selections are available on your site;
• promote ordering via phone or online with pickup at the store;
• offer to “happily” accept product returns at your stores;
• be able to accept catalog requests at your stores and on your site, then be able to mail those catalogs immediately — don’t wait to send them in batches; and
• include a copy of your catalog in shipment boxes of orders placed by first-time Web buyers.
9. Go for sales “tonnage,” not just ROI. It’s a simple fact that catalogs generally have at least 10 times the aggregate sales response compared to e-mails. Too many retailers favor e-mail because of its intrinsically high return on investment. But too many e-mails diminishes customers’ attention to your communications and diminishes brand equity.
Most companies can contact good customers about 13 times a year via catalog mailings. As a proactive means of communicating, catalog remains king of the contact toolbox.
10. Entertain and educate while you sell. Fewer consumers curl up on the couch with their computers than they do with catalogs. Exciting photography, entertaining copy and strong editorial views are where catalogs excel.
Bill Nicolai is a senior partner at LENSER, a catalog marketing agency based in San Rafael, Calif. You can reach him at (415) 446-2500 or email@example.com.