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Printed Catalogs – A Gift to Marketers

Those of us who fall into a certain age group all remember that one piece of print that officially ushered in the holiday season – the Holiday Gift Catalog. Whether it came from JCPenney, Sears or Toys R Us, I can still remember the experience clearly – opening it for the first time, pen in hand, working my way from front to back (and back to front again). I looked at that dog-eared catalog multiple times during the holiday season, as if new items would appear each time I flipped through the pages.

Late last week I was reminded that the paper catalog is alive and well when I received Amazon’s Holiday Wish Book. As we covered last year, Amazon took advantage of a “traditional” marketing tactic to create a tactile experience for their shoppers. The good news is that the catalog is back– and Amazon has upped their game with “Joy Delivered”. Filled with lots of fun stuff for kids and adults alike ( including stickers, coloring pages and a checklist), this year’s catalog really does deliver on its promise of joy.

And because the holidays are right around the corner, here are three other gifts that printed catalogs can provide to marketers:


Print Helps Inspire

Printed catalogs are a better way to fuel consumer purchasing, rather than relying on a website alone. According to a study by the Paper + Packaging Board, 68% of consumers agree that printed catalogs inspire more ideas than browsing an e-commerce site. We may still purchase from an online store, but the printed catalog (filled with exciting lifestyle shots, showing products in use) helps us connect to what’s being sold – so we can see how it will fit into our lives.

Print Has Lasting Power

Unlike emails that are easily deleted (or automatically drafted into the trash folder), printed catalogs have a longer life on the coffee table or kitchen counter, which means your brand will stick around. According to the USPS, the average amount of time that a person keeps a catalog is 20.3 days. It also has the ability to keep the attention of consumers, with the average person spending 15.5 minutes looking at a catalog.

Print Creates Response

In a multi-channel world, printed catalogs provide consumers with an inexpensive shopping experience that can not be replicated by an online store. A single catalog costs very little to produce – but pays for itself many times over. Printed catalogs continue to be the main driver to shopper traffic on the internet. In fact, 70% or more of all sales are the direct result of mailing a catalog and the average order is 20% more than an online purchase alone.

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