Catalog Circulation

Catalogs, After Years of Decline, Are Revamped for Changing Times
January 26, 2015

In this digital age when filling a shopping cart requires little more than a click, the printed catalog keeps vying for a place on the coffee table. From Anthropologie to American Girl, Pottery Barn to Patagonia, retailers are still relying on direct mail even as they spend considerable resources on improving their websites to accommodate the steady increase in online shopping. Some of their catalog forays, however, barely resemble the traditional merchandise book. These days, retailers are employing devices like adventure tales and photo spreads of wildlife to catch shoppers’ eyes, hoping to secure purchases online or in-store.

Ikea Mocks Apple in New Catalog Ad
September 5, 2014

It's back-to-school season, which means another article about Ikea's fall catalog. Since the Swedish furniture retailer's catalog was first introduced in 1951, consumers have eagerly awaited the beautifully designed book/catalog, showcasing the brand's unique and well-designed products.

Online Retailers Owe Popularity and Tax Treatment to Mail Order Catalogs
August 19, 2014

If you're clicking through the internet today hoping to do a little shopping, you likely have Aaron Montgomery Ward to thank. On Aug. 18, 1872, Ward produced the first Montgomery Ward mail order catalog, largely thought to be the first mail order catalog meant for the general public (Tiffany claims that its Blue Book catalogue, first published in 1845, is the first mail order catalog, but I think we'd all agree that a collection of "exceedingly rare gems" wasn't meant for the general public). As a result, each year on August 18 is National Mail Order Catalog Day.

Rules to Live By
August 1, 2014

PATIENT: "Doc, you've been around the block a few times in the catalog business. In all that time, have you come up with any overarching guidelines that can help me out in my business?"

Retailers Mail Style Guides to Entice Shoppers
July 21, 2014

Retailers such as Ann Taylor and J.Crew have refashioned their direct mail brochures as "style guides." Besides magazine-type content like interviews with celebrities, these print pieces include fashion tips and trend reports. Here's a quick look at two examples that recently popped up in the mail — specifically, how they deliver a rich experience to readers while at the same time keeping direct mail very relevant.

Measuring the Incremental Value of Catalog Mailings
July 21, 2014

Catalog marketing is a simple economic model: profits are maximized when you mail all circulation that exceeds your break-even point. However, knowing the incremental sales and profits that come from a catalog drop is complicated because your customers are receiving so many multichannel messages from you. Marketers are spending a lot of time and resources trying to determine how to allocate or attribute sales to the various marketing channels.

What a Cataloger Learned at IRCE
June 16, 2014

There was an energy — not to mention growing audience — to the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) last week that reflected the fast pace of change in the industry. The hot topics for catalogers included the following:

Restoration Hardware Weighs in With 17-Pound Catalog
June 13, 2014

Everyone is talking about Restoration Hardware. Not about the massive Moorish, walnut-studded, king-size bed or the vintage leather boarding school boxing gloves you'll find in its vast inventory of home design offerings, but about the formidable shrink-wrapped tower of catalogs from the retailer known for its grand gestures, large furniture and big footprint. Like many Washingtonians, I arrived home a few days ago to find a shrink-wrapped chunk of 13 different Restoration Hardware 2014 catalogs plunked by my front door.

Printing Money
May 1, 2014

Approximately 60 percent of consumer catalog sales and 55 percent of total orders generated annually are received during the holiday season (October through December), according to data we compiled at Lett Direct, Inc. This three-month period represents all or most of the profit for catalogers during the year. Therefore, it's critical to make certain your business is hitting on all cylinders during the busy holiday season.