Consumers still like thumbing through a good, old-fashioned catalog.
A recent survey on fashion trends found 15 percent of consumers ordered clothing through mail-in catalogs, despite the plethora of digital options, according to PriceGrabber. And though 57 percent shop online, retailers say their catalogs often complement online sales, drawing customers to their website to purchase an item they saw in a catalog.
While e-commerce has come a long way, it's still difficult to “browse” clothing on the web.
Oklahoma City businesswoman Teresa Moisant says flipping through one of the many catalogs she receives in the mail is a release at the end of the day.
“It's sort of a way to take me out of the real world,” she said. To support local businesses, she will, however, try to find an item she likes in a local store before ordering directly from the company.
Production is up
For Quad/Graphics, a Wisconsin-based printing company with a 1 million-square-foot plant in Oklahoma City, catalogs are the second-largest product line, behind retail inserts. Customers include J. Crew, Crate & Barrel, TOMS shoes, Mary Kay and Fossil.
Mike DeHart, who manages the Oklahoma City facility, said there's a reason many consumers are seeing more catalogs in their mailboxes lately.
“When the economy got really bad in 2008 and 2009, catalogers would reduce circulation because consumers weren't buying at the level they were in the past,” he said. However, production is back up.
Roughly 12.5 billion catalogs are mailed each year, according to the Direct Marketing Association. And RISI, an organization that reports on the global forest products industry, reported catalog mailings increased in 2012 — by 2.2 percent in the second quarter and 0.7 percent in the third quarter, compared to the same periods in 2011.
“Consumer confidence seems to be growing and that could bode well for catalogers,” said Claire Ho, a spokeswoman for Quad/Graphics.
Retailers have discovered the limitations of email and Internet-only marketing, she adds. “E-marketing alone gets lost in a blizzard of offers that the average consumer cannot easily manage or filter. Print is literally much more engaging and hands-on,” she said.
However, Quad/Graphics, as well as other companies, have introduced apps for smartphones and tablets as a way to transition the catalog browsing experience into the digital era.
Consumer confidence seems to be growing and that could bode well for catalogers. E-marketing alone gets lost in a blizzard of offers that the average consumer cannot easily manage or filter. Print is literally much more engaging and hands-on.”
A spokeswoman for Quad/Graphics