A Revelation, a Happy Thought and a Concern for 2014
Catalogs and QR codes are a match made in heaven:
I have to say I didn’t really embrace QR codes when they first came out. I’m not a big fan of shopping on my phone either, the screen’s too small and it’s a pain to type. Over the holiday I was watching my niece lounge on the couch reading a catalog and surfing for things she found on her phone. I was a little stunned I hadn’t seen it earlier but mobile and paper are a match made in heaven. Read a catalog on your couch and buy what you want with your phone, it’s even easier than shopping online. You can stay horizontal the whole time. Tuck a catalog in your bag to read on the train, buy stuff with your phone—no waiting. Properly done QR codes make it a better experience. View the image below and think about how easy it would be to tuck QR codes into product photos. Quad has a feature that makes the images themselves scannable. (How to get the customer to understand that is another story entirely.)
Print may get more respect:
When Newsweek announced that it was getting back into print I let out a sign of relief. I enjoyed Newsweek but stopped subscribing when they stopped printing. I have an iPad and I love it, but I still like my periodicals on paper. It is just a better experience for me. I like my news online and prefer to stay current or surf on the iPad, but for longer reads or magazines I choose paper. I prefer my catalogs on paper as well. Print and digital are two different experiences, they are not interchangeable. We marketers are going to have to work harder to give customers the experience they want, not the one that works best for us.
Adobe is headed down a lonely road:
A few years back Adobe started coming out with a new version every 6 months. Most of us waited for a year and if there was a must-have feature we upgraded. In 2013 Adobe moved to a subscription service pricing structure where you pay per month and you are always on the current version. The rational from Adobe is that you get access to more software and the price is the same as if you had stayed current on the upgrades. The problem is that if users choose to stop paying they can’t use any of the programs. As a loyal customer I must say this is not a comfortable feeling. Price has nothing to do with it, it’s about control. The fact that it basically turns Adobe into a cash cow where all they have to do is raise prices by $5/month to make millions more is certainly a more comfortable feeling for Adobe, especially if there are no great must-have features in the pipeline. Customers like to vote with their dollars, and most people prefer to own versus rent. I don’t think this will work out well for anyone but Quark and Adobe will end up offering both subscription and purchase options after a very painful year or so.
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President/Creative Director Catalog Design Studios Inc.
Co-Founder Catalog University