Restoration Hardware bulks up on its catalog business
Back in 2011, Restoration Hardware produced its then largest-ever catalog, which was 616 pages long and weighed three pounds. While many marveled at its size, many others questioned whether it had any place in the digital age. That question, at least according to Restoration Hardware, has been answered in the affirmative as the retailer has just dropped its latest catalog, which has grown to a mammoth 3,300 pages and 12 pounds.
Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman said on a recent earnings call via SeekingAlpha that Restoration Hardware is "the pioneer in rethinking the traditional direct model."
According to Mr. Friedman, the chain uses its Source Books to differentiate from the competition. He said that consumers cannot get a feel for the assortment advantage Restoration Hardware has over competitors by going online and looking at their respective homepages.
"It would require a customer to click 10,000 times to understand the assortment size difference, so for now this Source Book plays a very important role in communicating the dominant and unique point of view of our brand," Mr. Friedman told analysts.
Mr. Friedman also said that the chain has developed a more targeted approach to its mailings.
"While not intuitive, based on the size of our once per year mailing, we have made several changes that are both good for our business and much better for the environment than our previous methodology and those employed by our competitors," he said. "We have moved from mailing our Source Book 10 times per year to once per year, reducing our pages circulated at the percentage of our sales by approximately 70 percent."
- Restoration Hardware Holdings’ (RH) CEO Gary Friedman on Q1 2014 Results (Earnings Call Transcript) – SeekingAlpha
- Why This Retailer Still Insists on Printing a 12-Pound Catalog – Entrepreneur
- Restoration Hardware’s 616-Page Tome – RetailWire
How is it that Restoration Hardware appears to be successful by going against the grain with its ever-expanding catalog? Would a similar strategy work for other retailers?