It's a fusion of the old and the very new; glossy printed pages and high-resolution electronic screens providing a window into your products. We're talking marketing online and off, using the traditional power of the catalogue to generate sales melded with the incredible opportunities of the Internet.
Consider this fact: the United States Postal Service have worked out that websites that have catalogues, which can either be downloaded or sent out by mail or courier, enjoy far higher conversion rates from visitors than those that don't have them. According to its research, websites that were supported by catalogues generated 163% more revenue that those that were not; an astonishingly high figure that no online marketer can afford to ignore.
Catalogues may be so effective because of their static nature. They sit there on the office desk or kitchen table, and people can casually flick through the pages, browsing the items and considering a purchase. It's not like a webpage that you might only view for a few seconds or minutes before moving on. Indeed, various surveys indicate that people place a higher value on printed material rather than what's online, seemingly because they view it as a tangible object of some worth. Other surveys show that as many as 67% of shoppers use catalogues for ideas about what to buy.
The USPS research unearthed some other interesting details about people's attitudes and behaviour towards catalogues. For instance, it found that 60% of people who were sent a catalogue ended up visiting the company's website, which alone is a great way to drive traffic and get new customers. It also found that catalogues discouraged comparison shopping – the scourge of many a retailer – by over 7%, especially when direct mail is also involved. What’s more, nearly 60% of people said they enjoyed receiving catalogues and kept them instead of giving them a quick glance and discarding them.
The Internet may be all the rage, but it’s clear that print still has a lot to give in terms of boosting the bottom line, and especially when the two are combined for potent marketing success.