The Importance of Catalogs as a Sales and Marketing Tool

With the rise of online shopping, everything that we could ever want is at our fingertips. The digital age has allowed us to instantly purchase anything under the sun from our mobile phones. The internet has become our universal shopping playground where we’ve come to expect an unlimited array of products, complete with user reviews, functionality information, and free delivery.

Yet despite the popularity of online shopping, catalog shopping remains alive and well.

According to the research done by Data and Marketing Association or DMA, over 9.8 billion catalogs were mailed in 2016 and more than 100.7 million adults made a catalog purchase in the same year.  So why do retailers like Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, Barney’s New York, Ikea, and Williams-Sonoma still rely on catalogs to draw sales?

The answer is simple: catalogs are still relevant because they remain to be an important driver of sales for certain markets. Their edge over e-commerce sites is they’re tactile and they speak directly to customers.

Here are other top reasons why catalogs remain an important sales and marketing tool:

They can grab and retain attention

Unlike online shopping sites, print catalogs engage customers in a different way. People prefer something tangible and a catalog allows them to leaf through the pages at their leisure and enjoy every page. Geared more to highlight content over product, catalogs are very much about the lifestyle being offered by the brand. They are meant to be savored, perused leisurely, and even collected. Now that’s powerful brand engagement only print can offer.

Catalogs can boost offline and online shopping

Along with the lifestyle aspirations, catalogs are an effective marketing tool to boost offline and online sales. They are the first stop on the shopping journey and most customers usually complete their purchase online or in the actual store after looking at a catalog.

For example, for men’s clothing company Bonobos, catalogs helped increase their sales. Twenty percent of Bonobo’s first-time customers placed orders after seeing their catalog, plus these shoppers spent 1.5 times longer than other visitors on their e-commerce site. This proves that print catalogs can indeed bridge the gap between offline and online channels.

Catalogs complement other marketing channels

Successful retailers use integrated marketing to achieve maximum impact. Print catalogs, if used alongside email campaigns, ads, and merchant website, will further enrich the shopping experience. By providing a tactile experience, a catalog can connect a consumer to the brand in a more personal way, an experience that is lost in today’s digital world.

Catalogs keep the conversation going

Since catalogs are usually collected and placed alongside magazines and coffee table books, they serve as constant reminder of the retailer’s brand and keep a connection with customers long after they left the store.
Compared to any form of digital advertising, nothing beats the simple pleasure of browsing through a beautifully-produced catalog. For as long customers continue to engage and respond to print catalogs, catalogs will be there to delight and serve. And that’s power no e-commerce site can offer.