It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like … Christmas Catalogs

Bonobos, Cuyana, Lunya: these three brands have more in common than being digital-first brands. They are joining the ranks of e-commerce retailers who are sending print catalogs this holiday season.

“It’s about marrying brand, product and business simultaneously,” said Micky Onvural, CMO of Bonobos, in an interview with Jill Manoff in Glossy. “You can capture someone’s undivided attention with a catalog and bring the Bonobos brand to life in a way you can’t digitally.”

Like Bonobos, many of the brands adding holiday mailings are well aware of the power of printed catalogs.

“San-Francisco based fashion brand Cuyana has sent out four print catalogs per year for the past three years,” Manoff writes. “Eighty percent of the catalogs go to prospective customers — women who shop brands with like prices and aesthetics, and have an average household income of more than $150,000 per year — while 20 percent go to current shoppers of the brand.”

Their mailings perfectly reflect the reinvention of the catalog that we see in the industry today – thoughtful editorial content with exquisite design and imagery, meant to position their products within a lifestyle setting. They encourage lingering in the way only print can, which helps deliver their solid ROI potential.

And it’s been working, according to Manoff.

“In 2016, Cuyana increased the total circulation of its catalog by 50-65 percent, which led to a 200 percent increase in revenue from first-time customers,” she writes. “To build on that success, Shah and co-founder Karla Gallardo increased circulation of the fall and holiday 2017 catalogs by another 50 percent.”

For sleepwear company Lunya, 2017 was their first year mailing catalogs. The results of their fall mailing led them to up their run for the holidays.

“Driven by the traffic it drove to the site (Lunya would not release numbers), distribution of the follow-up — an eight-page holiday-focused booklet, which will be sent this week — will be ramped up by 76 percent,” Manoff notes.

This company, by the way, totally gets the lifestyle idea, making product suggestions on what to wear while watching your favorite holiday movies. Good stuff.

Of course, it’s not just smaller brands reaching out in print. The big names like Sears and JC Penney have turned back to holiday catalogs, after several years without. For many brands, catalogs help them compete with the massiveness of Amazon.

“How do you win today?” asked Cuyana’s co-founder Shilpa Shah. “You have to leverage all of the things Amazon doesn’t have. Amazon isn’t doing this, so it’s one thing we want to keep in our arsenal.”

As consumers look for increasingly personalized and unique shopping experiences, we expect to see a lot of catalog-inspired gifting under the tree this year.