Using Catalogs to Drive Retail Sales

Loved this article in the Wall Street Journal, with quotes from many of our catalog and retail friends. Here are a few highlights.

Craig Elbert, vice president of marketing for Bonobos, says that customers  who get a catalog spend 1.5 times as much as new shoppers who didn’t receive a catalog first. “A catalog gives us a bit more breathing room to grab folks’ attention,” Mr. Elbert says. “We’re able to tell a bit of a fuller brand story,” versus online tools to attract new customers, like display ads and emails, often have just one image or text line.

Bonobos intentionally limits the amount of descriptive text in its catalogs, skipping measurements and care instructions. Mr. Elbert says customers go online for that information. There’s a great argument for “web-first” production workflow…

And listen to this from Boden catalogs. I have not heard these stats before:

Boden, the U.K.-based clothing retailer, ships millions of catalogs around the world each year. Shoppers spend up to 15 to 20 minutes with the catalog, says Shanie Cunningham, head of U.S. marketing, compared with an average of just eight seconds for a Boden email and about five minutes with the Boden iPad app.

L.L.Bean is playing with the page count of catalogs it sends to regular website shoppers, says Steve Fuller, chief marketing officer at the outdoor and apparel retailer. Many of its catalogs come in different versions. So instead of sending every customer the largest book, Mr. Fuller looks for frequent website visitors and asks, “Can I only send her 50 pages, or 20, as a reminder of, ‘Oh, I’ve got to go to the website’?”

Despite the challenges our industry faces, print is still a great way to drive customers into stores or to your website. Here’s the full article:

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The Catalog Blog covers opinions and information on all things catalog. Have something to add? Leave a comment below. Catalog University is devoted to helping you get ahead in the fun and fascinating world of catalogs. If you want even more information about cataloging, including FREE Pub Talks, be sure to sign up for the Cat-U mailing list. We will never share your name with 3rd parties.

Janie Downey
Co-founder Catalog University