Why print catalogs are back again for holiday shoppers

Major retailers are investing in print catalog marketing for the holiday shopping season again this year. Amazon, for example, has printed and mailed its second-ever toy catalog in time for Black Friday shoppers.

The 92-page catalog has some unique content such as a sheet of stickers for kids to label their favorite toys and an instruction guide for kids to build things out of the Amazon boxes that the toys are delivered in.

This year, Amazon also printed and mailed a “Holiday Together” fashion catalog for adults. In both cases the catalogs do not have any prices in them. Consumers must use the “Scan & Shop” barcode on each page to price check and make their purchases.

When scanning the barcode with the Amazon app, buyers are presented with many more product choices than those on the printed page.

Walmart has also jumped into the printed catalog space with 35 million holiday toy catalogs being distributed at the giant retailer’s 4,800 stores as well as to the homes of customers and toy resellers.

According to the news site a.list.com, Walmart’s inclusion of scannable barcodes is part of the company’s “major tech-enabled holiday initiative. New holiday shopping features include an online gift finder that yields personalized recommendations based on criteria, the ability to check out with an associate anywhere in the store and expanded abilities to place online orders from the store with an associate’s help.”

Print catalogs are making a comeback in the age of e-commerce and social media for a number of reasons. First of all consumers like to use catalogs to shop. According to management consulting firm Kurt Salmon:

  • 86% of women, ages 18 to 30, had bought an item from a catalog
  • 64% of women had seen an item in a catalog that they later purchased in-store
  • Only 32% of women went to the retailer’s website to purchase an item

Second, as is shown by both Amazon and Walmart, print catalogs with mobile device scanning links serve to boost online sales. Consumers can browse quickly through the printed pages, select an item and, with a few clicks, place an order and have the item delivered to their residence the next day.

Finally, print catalogs cut through the digital clutter. Consumers are inundated daily with email and website banner ads, the majority of which they ignore. According to one study, more than half (55%) of marketing email goes unread because of inbox overload.

Producing a printed catalog can be very time consuming and expensive. But, when designed with customers in mind and targeted to them, there is no other marketing channel with the branding, product images and information and potential to drive sales than a printed catalog.

At Printwell, we offer a full range of catalog services from content design, prepress and print production and distribution. Please contact your account representative for a consultation or send us a message here and someone from our sales team will get in touch with you.