i love catalogs

Catalog Marketing in a New Retail Reality

By Elizabeth Gooding / Published:

COVID-19 has shaken our economy and consumer-facing retail has taken a big hit. Non-essential retail stores were forced to close, and some catalog and e-commerce operations as well. Sometimes due to potentially unsafe working conditions, but also due to the domino effect on the supply chain. Some retailers couldn’t source or manufacture products.

Across the spectrum of B2C and B2B, when consumers couldn’t find their preferred product at their preferred retailer, they changed their shopping behavior: many consumers have tried a different brand or shopped at a different retailer in the past few months by necessity. Here’s the scary part for a lot of retailers – they may never switch back.

According to research from McKinsey & Company, about 50% of people who switched brands or retailers in 2020 intend to stick with them. Having continuous contact with customers is critical to maintaining their loyalty. If they can’t see us in person and we can’t reach them by mail, we lose out on the opportunity to demonstrate value and specifically to sell them our products. Translating this to the catalog world, mailing fewer catalogs and direct mailers is risky.

But mailing more catalogs is also risky if they aren’t going to the right people or carrying the right products and messaging. Mailings also need to be balanced with the right mix of other marketing touches. Of course, what’s right for one company is not necessarily right for another.

With the new retail realities of 2020 – rethinking catalogs using data and ROI analysis becomes should be a call to action for catalog brands. Question everything: when to print, what to print and even how to print. You don’t always make a lot of friends internally when you start to question everything. Design leadership is critical.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to lead a discussion with Daniel Hetzer who is the Creative Director for Lands’ End. He shared his experiences with driving change and some measurable successes with testing catalog redesign. You can access the webinar recording and download the presentation here. We got a lot of great questions from attendees that are also answered here. There are opportunities for inkjet in the catalog market, but they require careful analysis to make the business case and good change management skills to bring creative, financial and marketing teams together with a shared vision. Change is hard, but these days we don’t really have a choice do we?

Enjoy the webinar.

About the Author

Elizabeth Gooding


Elizabeth is the Editor and Co-founder of Inkjet Insight. She has a rare ability to see print related issues from many perspectives. She has managed creative teams on complex design projects, selected outsourcers for major brands and helped print organizations to retool operations, focus their market positioning and educate sales teams to accelerate growth. She works with a team of top analysts to translate experiences into tools, data and content to help print organizations evaluate the potential of inkjet, optimize their operations and grow pages profitably. She is a founding member of the Inkjet Summit advisory board, the co-author of an award-winning book on designing for inkjet and a curious consultant constantly seeking innovative ways to drive new pages onto inkjet presses.

Leave a Comment