Marketing Forum > Print It! Catalogs Still Sell.

Print It! Catalogs Still Sell.

18-May-2014 05:54 PM

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Even e-commerce brands are jumping on the paper sales pitch.

Disastrous results: Consumers might gripe about unwanted circulars and overstuffed mailboxes, but historically, pulling back on catalogs has had disastrous results. When mail-order company Lands' End decreased the number of mailings it sent out in 1999, sales quickly took a dive.

"Where retailers have cut back, it has impacted their revenue negatively," said Ms. Bogan.

Now retailers can't get the pages printed fast enough. In addition to providing a more vibrant setting for apparel and home goods—Rent the Runway's first catalog, which launched last month, shows models in cocktail attire at parties with balloons, for example—catalogs help brands stand out from the crush of independent retail sites and juggernauts such as Amazon. In the past, catalog expenses had been taken out of a direct-selling budget, but now retailers are dedicating advertising and marketing funds to the mailings. Often, promotions and discounts are included to drive shoppers to the Web and stores.

Several companies have amplified the financing dedicated to catalogs. L Brands, the $10.5 billion owner of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, spent $474 million on catalog and advertising costs in 2011, a 3% increase over 2009.

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