Catalogs are here to stay. As they have evolved over the last decade into high-end booklets packed with the power of story, catalogs prove again and again to be an indispensable part of the retail and wholesale marketing mix.
What’s behind the continued use of catalogs?
Skyrocketing online advertising costs.
In 2021, a large US marketing agency reported to Forbes that online advertising had skyrocketed for their clients—primarily big-name retailers. Cost per 1,000 viewers (CPM) increased by 89% in April, 69% in May, and 42% in June across such platforms as Meta (previously known as Facebook), Google, Apple, Pinterest, and Instagram. AdSkate reported in May 2022 that costs have simply kept rising.
- Meta’s CPM has increased 61% year over year, averaging $17.60.
- TikTok’s CPM has increased 185% year over year, averaging $9.40/CPM.
- Google’s programmatic display CPM has increased 75% year over year. Meanwhile, search ad CPC (cost-per-click) increased by 14% year over year.
- Instagram’s CPM has increased 23% year over year.
And costs per click tend to increase further during the fourth quarter, which is crucial to retailers’ bottom line. Companies can’t be sure they will get their money’s worth from online advertising, so they turn to a more diverse marketing mix.
Catalogs ‘fill a retail therapy niche.’
Last holiday season, NBC News reported that consumers were weary of being on their phones and computers after pandemic restrictions rounded a second year. Older consumers enjoyed the nostalgia of grabbing a catalog or two out of the mailbox box and relaxing into the curated experience rather than searching online for something. Younger consumers tend to appreciate a high-quality catalog with some personality, a clear values message, and engaging storytelling.
Hamilton Davison, American Catalog Mailers Association president, said millennials “have an affinity for flipping pages”—much like shopping for LPs or browsing for vintage furniture. “One of the big surprises is that millennials find great value in catalogs,” he said to NBC News, citing recent research into catalog trends. “The internet feels too much like work.”
Catalogs that function as gift guides, contain rich editorial content, or appear similar to lifestyle magazines tend to increase their popularity.
How can today’s retailers create a catalog that pays?
Smart retailers use a multi-channel marketing approach, which means that they integrate online, in-store, and print marketing products, each to complement the others.
Print catalogs make it easy to ingrate technology and personalize to the recipient simultaneously. Catalogs will either send people to the store or online to buy. Make the online bridge seamless and powerful by incorporating personalized URLs or QR codes for online shoppers to take them directly to your website while providing information about their buying habits.
Be sure both your online and brick-and-mortar stores are stocked with the items in your catalog, and consider a strong BOPIS/BOPAC/BORIS plan for the holiday season. Consumer expectations around Buy Online Pick-up In Store, Buy Online Pick-up At Curbside, and Buy Online Return In Store are only increasing. Your catalog can provide a gateway and detailed information about these services, further easing the shopping experience.
Above all, be flexible.
With continued paper shortages, you may find that to get your catalog out on time, you have to pivot from an all-encompassing 100-page book detailing every product to a 36-page booklet highlighting categories, seasonal products, or personalized content for the reader. You may have to consider changing the paper grade or the finish if certain stock becomes available or runs short. Be ready to pivot on the details so the bigger picture can move forward and out to your customers—a strong, eye-catching print catalog that sells your products for you.
The good news is Consolidated Press is in great shape and well-stocked. We are also experienced in working closely to make materials and services swaps that work for the product and never compromise quality. Mailing is a snap for us, and we have access to the best rates available.
Whatever your catalog plans may be, we can help you print and mail the product that’s perfect for your customers.
With our efficient presses and professional staff, we can help you steward your resources while creating important print products that benefit everyone. Let us help you—reach out today!