The Staying Power of Catalogs

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Catalogs are a tried-and-true instrument in a marketer’s toolbox delivering an in-depth product experience right to any home or office door. With the rise of the digital age, many thought that e-commerce would supplant catalogs, but the opposite has been true. Catalogs continue to hold their own as a marketing channel operating steadily alongside its digital brethren.

The Evolution of the Catalog

Catalogs originated as a method to communicate product availability and highlight new goods. Now a company’s website functions in the same capacity and in real-time. Catalogs of today have evolved to serve as a means of inspiration, allowing consumers to visualize products in real-life situations with thoughtful detail and narratives. They also allow brands more room to tell their story and gain consumer trust. This can occur because, unlike the more frenzied pace of online shopping, catalog readers spend between 15 minutes to 30 minutes turning the pages and catalogs are retained for several weeks as a reminder to place an order, shop online, or visit a store.

The staying power of catalogs owes itself in part to online shopping, as the two have formed a symbiotic relationship. A printed catalog allows companies to bridge the physical and digital marketing space that can still be targeted and measured. Why is this so important? As much as 68% of consumers do not pay attention to online ads, 57% do their best to avoid them. Catalogs serve as traffic drivers. A US Postal Service Catalog Trends report showed that 72% of people reported catalogs make them more interested in products, and 84% purchased items after seeing them in a catalog.

Targeted Catalogs Often Mean More Buyer Investment 

Catalogs are not quick, inexpensive marketing solutions like email and social media, but they perform well with targeting, generating anywhere from $3 for every $1 spent to $9 for every $1 spent on top customers. This data ranks catalogs above paid search in overall ROI but below email and social media. However, catalog consumers, especially those from targeted lists, are less likely to balk at prices and tend to form attachments with the product on the page. In contrast, those viewing on a screen are looking for cheap and easy purchases. Print catalogs evoke an emotional connection, limiting barriers and objections, with studies reflecting that print catalog shoppers will spend up to 150% more.

Reaching Out To Your Customers At Home

Major retailers, both traditional and online, are embracing print catalogs in 2020 as the global pandemic has dramatically shifted consumer spending habits and access to shopping outlets. With more consumers stuck at home, they are taking advantage of the circumstances to embrace a data-driven approach and test out new ideas with page counts, size, and paper choice. Holiday toy catalogs are popular in homes with children, which can be targeted using past shopping habits based on age range and specific characters or TV shows. The digital overload of homeworkers has many adults craving the visual appeal of catalogs, so we may see an uptick in readership for those brands who choose to invest in aesthetics and creativity.

The next few years in catalogs will be pivotal in direct marketing and multichannel marketing. Port Hawkesbury Paper is proud to produce 20% of North America’s supercalender paper for retail inserts and catalogs. Download our fact sheet for more information about our company and products.

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