Why catalogues are still effective

Today seems an age away from past generations of people flicking through catalogues to choose their Christmas presents. The digital age is present, and the internet takes over e-commerce. With it comes new ways of browsing, shopping and purchasing.

But what does the position of catalogues look like today? Door to door leaflet distribution specialist DLM has assembled this report to find out:

Catalogues are still a popular marketing method
Despite the increasing presence of digital, catalogues are still being used. In a survey conducted by Catalogues4Business of over 100 UK businesses, it was discovered that catalogues were still considered important.

Of these businesses, 70% had had a business catalogue for over five years, and 54% had their catalogues for over 10 years. 27% also said the product was essential to their business.

In addition to this, 38% of companies surveyed stated that the use of catalogues ‘will be more important in the coming year’; 17% said that it will be ‘crucial’.

This could be due to catalogues’ influence on a company’s brand awareness — with 39% of the companies surveyed believing that a catalogue helps to build their brand reputation too.

Customers like and respond to catalogues
In a survey reported by Forbes in 2013, when customers were asked which they prefer — a printed magazine or an online version — 95% stated that they preferred the printed version. And why is this? According to Forbes, printed material gives users something tactile to touch, and flicking through a catalogue is a very tangible process.

In the Catalogues4Business survey, customers respond to catalogues as part of their strategy, with catalogues having the power to drive sales: 59% of their sales had been directly attributed to a catalogue, and they have driven a 29% uplift in web sales.

One of the main reasons businesses offer catalogues as part of their sales and marketing is that they can offer customers credit. This allows customers to get what they need and pay in instalments — as well as helping the business make sales.

There are a number of catalogue businesses that do offer credit — including fashion brands such as Simply Be and Boden, and multi-faceted department stores such as Matalan and John Lewis.

Adoption of digital catalogues
Not only is there still a significant place for catalogues in a company’s marketing arsenal, catalogues have also taken on an additional presence in the digital marketing sector with the adoption of digital catalogues.

Digital catalogues also offer a new way for people to place orders from catalogues. This is because people can browse through them using a variety of media and place their order online — something that couldn’t be done 20 years ago.

How catalogue marketing works…
Catalogue marketing, namely direct marketing by sending catalogues to potential customers, is still a popular choice or marketing amongst retailers.

Not only does it work in a business to consumer capacity, with consumers mail-ordering products they’d like, it is also utilised on B2B campaigns. In these cases, businesses can syndicate their range of products directly to their buyers.

To adapt to the changing industry, a combination of printed catalogues and digital catalogues is the best approach. Design your products for your customers first, consulting with specialist designers to make sure products are showcased in the best way.

Once produced, the catalogues can be distributed in a number of ways: through the post in direct mail form, integrated into your website, emailed as a version to suppliers and given to sales people for something physical to go into meetings with.

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