The more things change, the more they stay the same. It seems that many retail giants are adjusting their marketing strategies to include print, bridging the gap between digital and physical printed material.
Amazon printed a 70-page toy catalog for this Christmas season. The catch is that in order to see a price you must go online to the Amazon website. Omnichannel marketing at its best! The catalog has a very distinctive retro look, designed to appeal to previous Toys “R” Us shoppers. What’s more, some toys shown will have their own QR code, so browsers can instantly scan and shop. Digital versions of the catalog are also available on Kindle and in PDF format online.
Walmart and Target are also jumping on the print bandwagon by substantially increasing their catalog content, along with increasing in-store toy selection. This is all to get a piece of the $3.3 billion toy market.
Target is also releasing 22 million gift catalogs slated for both in-home and store distribution this holiday season, with 15% more toy pages compared to 2017. Consumers will have the option of scanning items with the Target app to find out more detailed information, and to get exclusive deals.
Using print to create a brand experience
Restoration Hardware is famous for printing large 15-pound books. Why do they do this? Partially because only about 20% of their products can be found in-store, and because their strategy is to inspire consumers with hundreds of images enticing them to reach for their device to place quick online orders. The brand doesn’t get the same result with email campaigns, or pay-per-click ads.
Clearly, print catalogs and online activity are not always separate experiences.
Catalogs have been proven to be the first step in the buying journey. This post from Workfront cites a Kurt Salmon study on catalog trends that says 86% of women aged 18-30 have purchased an item after seeing it in a catalog. This also provides evidence of why retailers are migrating back to print as part of their integrated strategy.
Browsing a catalog certainly creates a different shopping experience than browsing a website. Turning pages more easily engages customers, invoking brand loyalty and brand recognition more than just browsing the Internet.
Personally, I see the value of being able to turn the pages on beautiful printed material. It’s too bad that more websites aren’t laid out with an experience-driven design like traditional catalogs. In fact, many publishers have gone to a model that includes more overall interactive content.
Omnichannel marketing is crucial to retailer’s success and the catalog is just one more component that leads shoppers to a particular brand.
As retail continues to explore different channels from e-commerce to traditional brick-and-mortar, the catalog is most likely here to stay in one capacity or another. It may be smaller and arrive in a more targeted mailbox, but it is certainly still effective.
Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash