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Can catalogues work in the digital world?

Can catalogues work in the digital world?

11 June 2019
Author: Jasmine Waters

Gone are the days of brands relying solely on their catalogues to get promotion and the attention of the wanted consumer base. Few customers now want pick up a heavy, ‘freebie’ lookbook to flick through, and more often than not, aren’t likely to come into a store altogether. Even though catalogues have helped many companies create a foundation for direct-to-consumer success, how can the catalogue now be carried forward into the digital era?

Are catalogues still relevant? 

There is no question that practically speaking, sending out catalogues is no longer an efficient way to get product information across. Brands lose the ability to measure customer interaction and effectiveness, but for many, still remains a viable tool for trade and business. This is perhaps down to brands understanding that although there are more efficient mailing practices, there should not be a complete shift in strategy. As the question asked by many is how to successfully merge the two worlds, a key step is to identify what has made the catalogue form such a continuous hit. They can now primarily be utilised to highlight a brand’s curated product imagery, prompting the creation of the ‘mag-alogue’ (magazine and catalogue combined) to highlight a range’s editorial viewpoint. Catalogues themselves also have the flexibility to introduce elements of personalisation, as well as further attention to size and frequency.

How can print work with digital?

In 2015, a study conducted by the US Postal Service found most human brains process physical and digital content in completely different ways, with digital content being processed more quickly, and physical content tending to have a stronger emotional response and creating longer-lasting impressions. There is a clear psychological interest in the power physical content has which is not to be dismissed (such as increasing sense of trust), emphasising the importance of integrating the best of print with the best of digital. Starting with what the audience wants (to read) rather than what you want to present is essential, as regardless of the type of content, a brand’s audience needs and perspectives need to be addressed first and foremost. Using a catalogue for opportunities for digital cross-over is also key, with elements such as QR codes allowing the physical content to be carried on in a digital format.

There will always be a customer that prefers physical content, and the format will never cease to exist, or be successful. Having said this, in order to now get a brand noticed, cohesion with the digital world is undoubtedly needed when it comes to content strategy and creation - making consumers envisage your brand as a part of their lives, particularly when looking for an escape from solely digital consumption.


Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/@freestocks

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