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.
Lands’ End is under fire from an outraged group of mothers after sending out an unsolicited issue of GQ magazine to its customers, many of whom purchased school uniforms from the retailer. Angry moms have taken to the company's Facebook page after receiving the magazine, which features a racy cover of a topless model covered only with a white floral lei, and inappropriate language. It was addressed to recipients as a "Lands’ End Bonus."
OK, as a journalist, I’m not supposed to show any allegiance to a brand. I'm supposed to be unbiased and straightforward with just the facts, ma’am. And most of the time I am. But I’ve been reading a lot about the cool stuff online luxury retailer Net-A-Porter has been doing lately, and I can’t contain my excitement. Here are three reasons I think it's a great company:
Customer benefits are what it's all about. What makes your brand best for your customers needs to be woven throughout all your editorial, product copy, page heads, design and photography. First, define what makes you the best at XYZ. Second, define how to make it clear to your customer. It's not just about design differences. If you can make a true case for how you're different and why that's good for your customers, that's what no competitor can copy.
A cataloger's basic scorecard is their square inch analysis, which tells how much profit each item and page delivers. Some square inch analysis is meticulously tabulated with the exact amount of catalog pages each item has had over the span of several catalogs. Other analysis is more casual, with less attention to the exact space allocation and the total cost of the page space devoted to each item. Whether the format is rigorous or loose and whether the data is precise or just directional, the underlying purpose of square inch analysis is simple: it tells you whether each item is profitable or not. The issue is simple: Why sell items that aren't profitable?
Dipping its toes in e-commerce, the personalized magazine app Flipboard yesterday launched a way for anyone to create catalogs on the service. The new feature is an extension of a move in March to allow users to create their own online magazines. To date, some 4.5 million magazines have been created, CEO Mike McCue said in an interview. Flipboard's user base has been booming this year, growing from 50 million registered users in March to 90 million today. The new catalog feature, which adds shopping to the app's range of content categories, is likely to be particularly popular with retailers.