Is the printed catalogue dead? How you can use your catalogue to drive sales, increase customers & maximise conversions

Why you should keep your printed catalogue

Some say print marketing is a thing of the past

There are still high-flying marketers and executives who scoff at the notion of using print for marketing. Bring up producing a catalogue to them and they’ll laugh you out of the room.

And they would feel comfortably justified, considering that the average Briton spends £2000 a year online (Ofcom).

So why should they apportion a slice of their precious marketing budget to catalogue production when circulating material online is astronomically cheaper?

The simple answer is this: Sales figures tell them they should.

The Print Catalogue U-turn

JC Penney, the home retail giant, recently announced it would resume production of its famous ‘Big Book Catalogue’.

Their dramatic decision to shelve their much-loved catalogue 6 years ago came as a shock to many, not least leading advertisers and marketers across the US.

Direct Commerce Magazine is scathing in their analysis of JC Penney’s initial decision:

‘[Their catalogues] drove store traffic, they generated huge sales in their own right, but in comes in a new management which doesn’t quite get the correlation between the seemingly high costs of catalogue design, production and distribution – and sales.’

It took JC Penney 6 years to correct their mistake and re-embrace the marketing power of print catalogue.

Catalogue consumer engagement statistics

catalogue traffic

If you’re an exclusive digital disciple needing convincing of print marketing, take a look at the following statistics from a 2014 survey by MarketReach:

  • 60% of consumers visited a retailer’s website within a week of receiving their catalogue
  • 50% of these consumers then spent £40 or more on their first purchase
  • 70% of consumers will also keep their catalogues for at least a month with a third hanging on to them for up to a year
  • Average browse times of a catalogue were between 5 and 30 minutes compared to the average online browsing time of 11 minutes

You can clearly see where we’re going with this.

But, as clear as these figures are, in order to harness the wider marketing value of the printed catalogue, you have to appreciate the unique benefits it presents to the perusing reader.

Why do consumers still love the catalogue?

The first step towards infiltrating the catalogue/customer relationship is accepting the obvious notion that consumer browsing has many steps and takes many forms.

For example, if you have decided on the purchase of a product and all that remains is to compare prices, the most efficient way to do so is online.

Similarly, if you know you want a minimalist, solid oak dining table but you haven’t decided on the brand or retailer, a quick google search will help you find lots of different options.

However, if you need some initial inspiration on what type of table to buy, or if you want to be motivated by seeing how much better your life could be if you commited to a full-on dining room makeover, contextual product images will help you a lot more than white background, all-angle snapshots.

Catalogues help put images in context. Descriptive, static copy and contextual images paint far more vivid pictures than many of alternatives online. They allow for reflection and the absorption of advice and help you discover what you want rather than just show you what you can buy.

How to get your catalogue noticed by consumers

The perfect engagement channel for your catalogue

In 2014 the top 100 print magazines had a combined circulation of over 19 million whereas the top 100 digital editions of magazines had barely 514,000 subscribers.

Retailers who include a catalogue in their marketing strategy, whether by mail-order or instore pick-up, report increased consumer engagement and customer conversion.

Of course, catalogues won’t succeed on their own – they need their own form of marketing.

That’s where we come in.

Lifestyle Media Group would like to introduce – our flagship literature request website. We market 100s of catalogues and brochures to an active and non-incentivized audience of 3 million households.

Find out how we can help you market your catalogue or brochure to a potential audience of millions.

Because print marketing is far from dead.