Printed catalogs were once the primary form of advertising for many retailers, but with the emergence of the internet and the rising popularity of online shopping, many companies have decided to cut down on their catalog mailings or even stop them entirely.
However, this might be a mistake for several reasons, as there is evidence that paper catalogs are still powerful marketing tools that can help your business grow and can increase your customer base. In fact, retailers that still choose to send out billions of catalogs yearly, experience enormous returns with tens of millions of customers making purchases, at least partially, based on catalogs that find their way into mailboxes.
Retailers are continuously trying to create a seamless omnichannel experience that incorporates paper catalogs, physical stores, and websites to help customers shop and make purchases. So here is everything you should know about the benefits of catalogs and why they are still an important marketing tool.
What are Printed Catalogs?
They are printed pieces that showcase goods and services that are on sale. They include images, descriptions, and prices of products, as well as ordering information. Some catalogs feature a single product, such as clothing, while others include a variety of goods, and their covers usually show what type of items they contain inside.
Ordering Products from Catalogs
There are a few ways you can order products from printed catalogs. Some require ordering over the phone, while others provide order forms and return envelopes with prepaid postage. Sometimes, products from catalogs are also available for purchasing online, so that might be another option.
Why is it Important for Businesses to Have Product Catalogs?
They offer numerous benefits and advantages, so let’s take a look at some of them.
1. Many prefer shopping through catalogs
People enjoy browsing through them because they do not feel rushed and can look at everything at their own pace. Around half of all consumers prefer to shop using catalogs, meaning that there is a high chance of attracting and gaining new customers by sending them out.
2. They can showcase a product in the best light possible
Paper prints enable you to use high-quality images and include detailed information, such as specifications, features, and other factors, that will add appeal and attract targeted consumers. They are great for presenting your products in the best way possible which is probably one of its biggest benefits.
3. They can be used with direct mail campaigns
With a single piece of mail, you can get all of your products in front of potential customers. They can also be handed out in person, placed in public places, and can even be sent alongside shipped products which is great for generating additional sales.
4. They help with establishing a company’s brand
Having a recognizable brand is important for any business and printed catalogs can help achieve this, as well as make you stand out from your competitors. By sending them out consistently, consumers will learn about who you are, what you have to offer, and will start recognizing the elements of your brand.
5. They can increase the visibility of a business
People who previously didn’t know about your business can learn all about it which is great for increasing your company’s visibility. A high-quality and engaging catalog will let people know how serious you are about your business which will help you establish a good reputation.
6. Many people keep them for future reference
Many keep catalogs for future reference and browse through them at a later time, eventually deciding to buy a product. This is also great for increasing exposure and can mean you generate more sales as well.
The Benefits of Using Online Catalog Printing Services
Deciding whether to order from your local printing company or an online printing service might be a difficult choice to make, but here are some reasons why the latter might be a better choice. For additional information, you can read more here.
Convenience – This might be the main reason for choosing online services because you can complete all the ordering steps on your own schedule. Whether it is in the middle of the workday or late at night, you can complete everything at your own time. You can request a quote, set up your order, review your options, and submit your payment whenever you have time to spare, unlike with local companies that mostly work within standard business hours.
Price – No matter the size of your order or the type of catalog you want, online printing services will most likely offer you a better price than your local printing store. This is because they operate on much larger scales, having to meet the demands of multiple clients that use the same printing processes. Automation is also more common in online printing which enables printers to utilize larger printing runs, cutting down on time and manpower. Their printing process is much more cost-efficient which also translates onto the price you are paying for their services.
Design and Proofing Capabilities – Local printers usually do not offer previews which can often lead to mistakes or complications. On the other hand, online printers provide a digital preview before printing, so you can ensure that your catalog looks exactly like you wanted.
Printed Catalogs vs. Digital Ads
Studies have shown that people enjoy reading magazine-like catalogs. Their physical nature encourages browsing and even if a consumer doesn’t spend time looking through the catalog, at least they would have seen your brand’s name and to a degree be aware of what you have to offer. On the other hand, digital catalogs that are delivered by email can easily end up in trash or junk folders.
Millenials – people born between 1981 and 1996, are thought to be the demographic that ignores traditional advertising forms the most. However, based on reports around 50% of them disregard digital ads compared to only 15% that ignore printed catalogs. In 2016, more than 100 million customers ordered at least one product from a printed catalog, meaning they are still an extremely relevant and important marketing channel.
Catalogs are still a marketing powerhouse. However, it is no longer a competition between printed and digital and instead, one should use the strengths and best features of every medium to create the best marketing strategy that is efficient, effective, generates engagement, and satisfies customers.