The growing trend of digital-only companies embracing print continues. As reported in Crain’s New York, “Retailers are keeping an iron-tight grip on catalogs as an irreplaceable marketing tool – despite the world’s embrace of online shopping,” writes Adrianne Pasquarelli.
She was referring to e-commerce clothing company Bonobos and their 52-page catalog sent out this holiday season. The company has been a called a “digital pioneer” for their success in selling online. So why go with print?
According to Bonobos’ Craig Elbert, “we’re constantly testing new channels—even ones that may be old to others.” Elbert notes that producing a catalog allows the company to provider a “fuller story” to their customers than they can online.
Pasquarelli notes that Bonobos isn’t the only online retailer making the decision to market themselves via printed catalog.
“Designer dress-rental site Rent the Runway just introduced a mailer into its marketing mix, while older stores including William Sonoma Inc. are spending more on the print publications.”
Why is that? According to Pasquarelli, “Retailers have good reason to say yes to paper: 58% of online shoppers also browse catalogs, according to a recent survey conducted by consultancy Kurt Salmon.”
Traditional mail-order companies have also learned (some the hard way) their catalogs truly are critical to sales.
“Consumers might gripe about unwanted circulars and overstuffed mailboxes, but historically, pulling back on catalogs has had disastrous results. When mail-order company Lands’ End decreased the number of mailings it sent out in 1999, sales quickly took a dive,” says Pasquarelli.
Clearly, whether your business is online or mail-order, catalogs can and do play an important role in the marketing mix.