What is the future of catalogs?

In 1998 I first heard that online was going to kill catalogs. Thirty years later they are still here, still relevant and gaining a younger audience. But as technology advances and retail evolves what will happen in 2025? I am thrilled that Kevin Hillstrom is also pondering this very thing and will be sharing his vision in the Pub on June 27th. The Great Eight: What Catalog Marketing Will Look Like In 2025. Sign up early, Kevin’s talks do filll up fast. Till then here are some things to consider.

Customer experience: Catalogs are tangible and well behaved. Customers understand how they work. I asked my 20 year old niece why she liked catalogs and she said, “It’s fun to flip through a catalog.” So simple. Are we thinking about what differentiates catalogs from other channels? Brent Neimuth does a great riff on “This cool new thing called print”. It’s easy to forget what makes catalogs great because it’s so simple: It’s fun to flip through a catalog.

Cost: It’s hard to dip your toe into cataloging the way you can with online channels. Scale is what makes cataloging work. It’s also a serious barrier to entry. Is there a way to reduce that friction point for new catalogers? Can printers combine inkjet variable print and co-mail for multiple startups to get them closer to scale at smaller quantities? Just thinking out loud.

Get outside and enjoy Spring! Bring a beverage and a catalog, they’re fun to flip through. They’re great at the beach too, and the bathroom.  😉

All the best,

Sarah Fletcher

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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 also sign up for the Cat-U mailing list. You’ll get a free copy of The Great Catalog Checklist and we’ll never share your name with 3rd parties.

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