There's no doubt the importance of print catalogs has diminished in correlation with the rise in retail e-commerce sales. Despite all the logical reasons print catalogs should cease to be, they remain an important marketing tool for a wide variety of retailers.
It was two years ago, in an April 2012 discussion on RetailWire, that Martin Mehalchin, partner at Lenati, wrote, "The catalog has really become an advertisement that drives incremental visits to the website or prompts consumers to drop by the store the next time they are at the mall." There hasn't seemed to be any reason since to believe the downward trend in catalog publishing would reverse.
And yet Adweek recently reported on e-tailers that are publishing catalogs and "magalogs" as a means to differentiate from the competition and drive sales. Among the retailers cited by Adweek are Net-a-Porter, One Kings Lane, Rent the Runway, JackThreads and Birchbox.
Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, a retail analyst at Forrester Research, told the magazine, "As a lot of other marketers cut back on print marketing, there's an opportunity to stand out more. It's not perceived as clutter — nobody has a bad impression of magazines — and it can be a very useful way to drive traffic to your core property."
How important do you expect catalogs and magalogs will become to the marketing efforts of e-commerce sites?