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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It seems like catalog creative/production schedules, just like budgets, have gotten so tight they drive everyone crazy. Here are nine tips for bringing sanity to your schedule management.
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.