Editor’s Note: Printed catalogs remain stubbornly effective for many online retailers. This week’s “Conversion Tip” addresses that reality. The author is Charles Nicholls, founder and chief strategy officer of SeeWhy.com, a conversion and cart-abandonment recovery firm.
The problem with catalogs is that they cost a lot to produce, and it’s hard to determine whether they pay their way. So it was interesting to see research by comScore and the United States Postal Service, which suggests that online shoppers that received a catalog in the mail spent on average 163 percent more than those that didn’t. One hundred sixty-three percent? That’s a big difference.
The difference between a physical catalog dropping through the letterbox and online marketing is that the catalog disrupts the daily routine. Buyers like to flip through catalogs, perhaps over a bowl of Cheerios or in front of the television, but certainly at times when they are not normally online.
If you are really committed to measuring the impact of your catalog, then consider changing your product codes printed in the catalog. A simple prefix to your regular stock code can identify sales originating from the catalog, though this does require a bit of work on the website to do.