Disney Goes Online Sans Catalog
By George Anderson
Mickey don’t need no stinkin’ catalog.
The Walt Disney Company, buoyed by the percentage of orders for goods being made on the company’s web site this past holiday season, has decided to can its catalog and bring its consumer direct business totally online.
Paul Gainer, vice president of Disney Shopping, a division of Disney Consumer Products, told the New York Times, “Customers almost dictated this to us. Once they go online, we just don’t see them going back to the phone.”
Disney’s move takes place when a number of web-based businesses including Amazon.com and eBay have made the decision in recent years to mail catalogs to consumers.
Still, Disney saw a 45 percent drop in phone orders this past holiday season.
The company, said Mr. Grainer, spent $18 million to mail out 30 million catalogs this past holiday season and the end result led him to conclude “it’s time to focus just on e-commerce, and see how great we can be.”
Jim Coogan, president of Catalog Marketing Economics, said Disney is making a mistake.
“What almost inevitably happens,” he said, “is that the business has lower costs, as expected, but a much greater-than-expected drop in sales. Typically companies expect to hold onto almost all the web sales and are surprised when that doesn’t happen.”
Donna Hoffman, professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University, also believes Mr. Gainer and Disney are making a mistake.
She pointed to research showing customers with access to multichannels of commerce for retailers spending 15 percent more with a particular company than those who shop through only one of three options: online, catalog or store.
“Disney’s just leaving all of that on the table,” said Professor Hoffman.
Mr. Gainer is undeterred. He told the Times that the company plans two more catalog drops in March and April and that’s it.
“You may see print materials in the future, a postcard or something, but it will only be to drive traffic online,” he said. “There won’t be another 80-page catalog.”
Moderator’s Comment: What is your reaction to Disney’s decision to discontinue its catalog in favor of its web-based business? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- By Sacrificing Its Catalog, Will Disney Spoil Its Internet Business? – New York Times
(free reg. required)