Why a catalogue?
Catalogues brought a great shopping experience from the comfort of your armchair; the direct link that enabled snazzy new jeans to be delivered to your door without having to traipse around the stores for hours on end.
Argos 1988 Spring Summer Catalogue
If you were a child of the 1980’s, you will remember flicking through an Argos catalogue every Christmas, listing all the goodies you wanted from the pages. There was nothing quite like it – and it would seem, nothing still is, as customers still enjoy browsing through a catalogue from their armchairs allowing the products to fire their imaginations. You can hold a catalogue, pause on a page and become absorbed by the possibilities of the product. This one-to-one time with a catalogue compels us to order (usually online!).
So why do we continue to use catalogues?
1. It’s personal. The smell of the new pages, the weight of the book, the time you take to ponder over the item that you know would just look amazing in your lounge.
2. You choose the product you are pondering over. It could be argued that catalogues offer a better product overview as the product you are looking at is not swamped by 14 different other items being suggested by the information superhighway. You clicked on a dress two weeks ago and it’s still showing up in the adverts when you Google how to marinade chicken.
3. Catalogues are pretty. The many different colours, textures and finishes are appealing to the eye. We’ve all done it – thumbed straight to the samples and swatches pages to manhandle the array of fabrics – and we can’t help but do the same with a catalogue with a moleskin finish or one with shiny gold edging.
4. Information is readily available. You don’t have to wait for the internet page to load for the sizing guide or customer services number.
5. Print and digital, hand in hand. If you did want to pop online to find out more, you can scan the QR code or AR code on the page and jump even further down the rabbit hole. A combination of digital and print is proven to increase sales and attract more customers. IKEA use Augmented Reality to showcase the functionality of their cupboards whilst other retailers allow for purchases off the page via a smart phone!
6. Catalogues build brand awareness and consumer loyalty. The style and type of print, the branding and the editorial content therein all gives you the impression of being in the actual store with the same customer service.
7. Alternative uses! You can use a catalogue to swat flies or prop open a door – you can’t do that with your iPad!
The bottom line is catalogues work. People open and interact with mail. When asked, 69%* said they opened a letter about a promotion or special offer with 55% interacting.
Now that’s an impressive open rate!