Why, in our super-efficient online era, would anyone read a printed catalogue? Setting aside the cost of their production and distribution, tracking and analysing customer interactions with physical catalogues is much harder to achieve than it is via online advertising and e-commerce sites.
And there’s no doubt that in terms of raw numbers fewer catalogues are produced than a few years ago, but does this indicate a decline in their popularity or simply more efficient targeting?
We should consider some of the unique advantages that catalogues have, and right at the top of the list is their portability and longevity. They don’t disappear when you switch the computer off, lose your internet connection or run out of power. They remain as a constant reminder of how to order your products and services.
People also like the fact that they are tactile – and if the catalogue is very well designed, they even like to display it or keep it on hand (which is exactly what you want them to do).
Then there is the content. A catalogue design that includes high quality photographs or images accompanied by impactful and stimulating product descriptions make for easy reference – you’re not only telling the customer exactly what they need to know about the product and why they should buy it, but you’re guiding them towards the buying decision.
There are other advantages too. Since the catalogue is a physical entity, other people can see it, and at the same time you’re differentiating yourself from those of your competitors who haven’t got one. You have a wonderful opportunity to cross- and up-sell by highlighting other products the customer may not have thought of, and depending on your marketing and distribution model you may even be able to meet the customer face-to-face, which is always beneficial. Imagine the effectiveness of dropping the catalogue off in person, briefly going over the highlights, and perhaps mentioning some offers?
There is no doubt that the printed catalogue can play a vital role in a co-ordinated marketing strategy, and has several unique selling points which will help to drive profitable business growth.