Printed catalogs influence buying decisions

Monday, February 4th, 2019

Did your brand decide to kick its printed catalogs to the curb? In an effort to save marketing dollars, many businesses made that same hasty decision. In other words, they began to channel catalog-marketing dollars in a more digital direction. How did that decision work out? It resulted in a reduction in sales for many companies, including major brands. They quickly found themselves lost in the noise of digital advertising.

If you’re like me, you’re getting sick and tired of all of the email ads that clutter your inbox on a daily basis. For instance, I have a specific email dedicated just for things like that it’s still overwhelming. Printed catalogs on the other hand, get my attention. More and more brands are producing printed catalogs as a marketing strategy to influence purchases. According to, websites supported by catalogs yield 163% more revenue than those not supported by catalogs. You just can’t ignore that figure.

Is email advertising all it’s cracked up to be?

After a recent weekend getaway, I came home to an inbox full of ads from travel companies, retail stores, restaurants, casinos, business services, magazines, media outlets, concert venues, financial advisors, social media apps and much more. You get the picture; the list goes on and on. I’m sure you are experiencing the same type of inbox overload. It’s getting ridiculous and many of us are just hitting the delete button over and over, not even bothering to open certain emails. Many of us may have signed up for these lists to get a one time special discount or another perk. Perhaps at the time, we didn’t realize we were opting in to an endless stream of emails.

A few interesting statistics

Most noteworthy, according to the email marketing firm, Listrak, only about one-third of U.S. retail email list subscribers have actually made a purchase from the retailer whose email they subscribed to. What does that mean for businesses? Firstly, many people are subscribed to email lists that they are simply not interested in, which leads to even further email overwhelm and frustration. Secondly, they may be so disinterested, that according to statistics from Convince and Convert 21% of email recipients report email as spam, even when they know it isn’t. In addition, 17% of Americans create a new email address every 6 months. Think they’re trying to run and hide from inbox clutter?

It’s getting the same way with digital ads for me as it is for emails. Similarly, it’s just an overload of ads all the time. I scroll through social media and it’s a stream of ads. I’m online and there are pop up ads. Although we are stuck to our smartphones like glue and constantly connected, are we really taking the time to look at all those digital and social ads? I know I don’t pay as much attention as I used to.

Printed catalogs can be the secret to sales success in 2019

So what does get my attention? Mail. Yes, good old-fashioned mail delivered right to my mailbox. When it’s in my hand, I’m definitely going to take the time to look at it.  And, I love a good printed catalog. I enjoy relaxing on the couch, sipping a cup of coffee and flipping through a catalog. For example, I read though home décor catalogs to get inspiration for home remodel projects and holiday decorating. I browse through retail clothing catalogs to see the latest styles.

At times, I will leisurely flip through specialty catalogs to get entertaining or recipe ideas. If I see something I like, I’ll go online and make a purchase or make a trip to a store. In fact, that actually happens quite often. Sound familiar? If the catalog has a beautiful magazine style cover, it may even grace my living room table for months or more. That’s a lot of staying power in the world of marketing.

Retailers are taking note and companies are printing catalogs to cut through email clutter and social-media overload. Certainly, a printed catalog can differentiate your brand. It helps make a deeper connection with consumers and sustain existing customer relationships in a way that email and other digital advertising can’t. Studies have also shown that printed catalogs and other direct mail are more memorable than email and digital marketing.

Statistics from the USPS report Catalogs: Trends and Updates

  • 84% of consumers have purchased an item after seeing it in a catalog
  • 71% of consumers responded that catalogs have an influence on their purchase decisions
  • 66% responded that a catalog has influenced them to go online to a store’s website to purchase an item
  • 84% of consumers enjoyed getting catalogs from retailers they previously shopped
  • 70% enjoyed getting a catalog from a company they were familiar with, but never purchased from

These statistics are extremely encouraging for brands taking advantage of printed catalogs. However, those who have done away with their printed catalog budget should take note. Here are two other interesting statistics from USPS research related to catalogs. A person spends an average of 15.5 minutes looking at a catalog and keeps it for an average of 20.3 days. When was the last time you spent 15.5 minutes looking at an online or email ad? Finally, 25% of consumers actually responded that they wanted more catalogs with their mail! Not printing a catalog? Well it may be time to start.

Brands jumping on and off the catalog bandwagon

Although we may not stop to take the time to look through a catalog the minute it gets delivered, chances are great that we will put it aside and look at it when we have time as I always do. It sticks around, unlike an email ad that gets deleted. That’s why brands continue to use printed catalogs as way to drive web traffic and retain customers.

Many consumers will still make online purchases, but they’ve been encouraged to make those purchases by printed product catalogs that direct them to a website. Interestingly, even Amazon jumped on the catalog bandwagon with its recent printed holiday catalog. In an effort to pick up former Toys “R” Us shoppers over the holiday season, Amazon printed full color catalogs that consumers could either get delivered by mail or pick up at a Whole Foods store. Imagine that. One of the largest online retailers in the world and they print a catalog.

The Victoria’s Secret lesson

Just what happened to that famous Victoria’s Secret catalog many of us loved? In an effort to redirect marketing efforts, Victoria’s Secret made a decision to do away with its popular catalog. According to media reports, the catalog had a circulation of nearly 250 million. Yes, you heard me correctly. That’s a lot of lingerie consumers to ignore. The elimination of its catalogs and direct mail promos, combined with leaving the swimsuit and apparel market, resulted in a huge decline in sales and earnings. Victoria’s Secret continues to struggle with sales as more and more women have trouble identifying with the brand. How much did ditching the catalogs contribute to the decline? It’s hard to tell, but choosing not to get your product in front of 250 million consumers on a regular basis obviously hurt. You know the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind.”

Catalogs can open those virtual doors

In conclusion, a printed catalog is a very effective way to direct consumers to your website. Moreover, it’s a great tool for enhancing brand perception for your business or products. Most importantly, a printed catalog influences purchases decisions. Need another perk? ROI is easy to track when it comes to catalogs through the use of unique sales codes and special promotions. Instead of pondering why print a physical catalog in a digital world, ask yourself why not? In short, cut through the clutter with a printed, full-color catalog. Learn more about printing a catalog at Corcoran Printing, an experienced commercial catalog printer. Learn about the benefits of direct mail on our blog Direct Mail is Alive & Well.  

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Pennsylvania printer recommends driving traffic to your website with a printed catalog

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

If you are a retailer or manufacturer looking for a way to increase sales, a full-color printed catalog of your products might be your answer. Retail giants have realized the value of catalog marketing in a digital age in driving web traffic and sales. After eliminating their catalogs, and seeing a reduction in customers as a result, J.C. Penney’s recently brought back its print catalog in an effort to increase sales, according to CBS News. Land’s End saw a similar decrease in sales after reducing the number of catalogs they mailed. CBS reported that most catalog readers spend more money, both online and in the store.

Other retailers have transformed their catalogs, both visually and in terms of content, to enhance the overall customer buying experience. Some now look more like eye-catching coffee table magazines, offering valuable information for the consumer, such as decorating tips and even recipes. They have become much sought-after sources of inspiration and information for the reader, and more importantly have succeeded in increasing website traffic and sales for many retailers.

Today’s most successful direct mail printed catalogs incorporate stylish color photos and some even tell stories. They succeed in catching a shopper’s eye catalogs-flyersand encouraging that important online visit to make a purchase. They are even driving traffic into stores to get certain items that might be featured in the catalog. According to the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA), 90 million Americans shop from catalogs, with consumers spending an average of $850 per year on their catalog purchases. The ACMA also found that 58% of consumers look at catalogs as soon as they arrive in the mail. If you are retailer, I’m sure you know that getting a piece of this catalog action can help to increase your sales.

Professionally printed catalogs, such as Williams-Sonoma, Anthropologie, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware have all focused on improving the look and content of their catalogs. Williams-Sonoma offers recipes and cooking tips, while Pottery Barn and Pier One provide seasonal decorating tips featuring their many products. It’s also enabling retailers to enhance their brand and stay in front of their customers for a longer period of time. Even digital retailers, such as Bonobos and Birchbox, are using catalogs to drive traffic to their websites.

Retailers and others mailed 11.9 billion catalogs in 2013, according to a research by the Direct Marketing Association. This was an increase after years of decline in catalog marketing. Retailers such as Athleta and Victoria’s Secret travel to beautiful locations for photo shoots, showcasing their products in dream destinations that that offers an escape to consumers that flip through their full-color catalogs and truly enhance the customer shopping experience. These professionally printed catalogs and others are building a real connection between customer and retailer.

An article in The Wall Street Journal quoted Bonobos VP OF Marketing as stating that 20% of the website’s first time customers are placing their orders after having received a catalog and are spending significantly more than new shoppers who did not receive the catalog. You can’t argue with these results when looking for a way to increase your sales and expand your customer base.

The most successful brands going into the future will be those that recognize the value of integrating various forms of marketing into their plan. This includes printed catalogs and other direct mail marketing pieces, combine with their social media and online marketing efforts. It’s all about a better customer experience diecutand developing a stronger bond with your target market.

Benefits of a direct mail printed catalog

  • Develop a closer connection with your customers and stay top of mind
  • Drive visitors to your website – Print is a driver of online behavior
  • Build sales
  • Track ROI
  • Better targeting of customers and prospects
  • Keep in touch with customers to get them beyond that initial purchase
  • Enhance the overall customer buying experience
  • Allows you to better express your brand
  • Has a much longer shelf life than other advertising
  • Will keep a customer’s attention for a longer period of time than other forms of advertising

Five Tips for creating a more effective printed catalog

  • Invest in an eye-catching, colorful design
  • Showcase your products with beautiful color photos and other visuals
  • Provide editorial content focusing on a reason to buy – offer recipes that utilize kitchen equipment or food items you are selling, offer landscaping tips and sample projects that utilize flowers, gardening or landscaping materials you sell, provide fashion tips and suggested pairing for your clothing and accessories or offer design tips that utilize your home furnishings
  • Provide a strong call to action to drive people to your website or store with your printed catalog- provide coupons and QR codes
  • Track effectiveness of your printed catalog through offer codes

A professionally printed, color catalog offers a window into your brand. Take advantage of this effective marketing method to increase sales and develop a closer relationship with your customers. Other direct mail printed marketing materials, including flyers, postcards and booklets also work well to keep you top of mind with your customers and drive business to your website or store. The catalog printers at Corcoran Printing can help you with your next printed catalog project. Call 800-564-0085 today for an estimate on your catalog printing or other direct mail project or visit Corcoran Printing.


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Increase your sales now with a professionally printed catalog

Friday, September 12th, 2014

diecutCatalog marketing is here to stay. It’s a great selling tool that has become a buying habit of many customers and is an ideal way to showcase your products and your brand. According to Crain’s New York Business publication, businesses that have cut back on catalog marketing have seen disastrous results. The publication sites the case of Land’s End whose sales quickly took a dive when the company decreased the number of catalogs that went out.

In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, catalogs were referred to as bait for customers, like a store window display. In that same article, the chief marketing officer for William’s & Sonoma referred to catalogs as a very important part of their marketing mix, a place that customers look to for ideas and inspiration. The president of Neiman Marcus was quoted as saying that when catalogs hit customer mailboxes, the company sees an immediate sales lift. Neiman Marcus saw an 8% jump in catalog sales in 2013 over the prior year.

Today’s effective catalogs have fewer pages and more and photos and lifestyle images. In addition to building sales, another key benefit of catalog marketing is the ease with which you can measure results. Telephone and online orders can be easily tracked to your catalog with the use of simple codes.

According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), $11.9 billion was spent on catalogs in 2013, that’s first uptick since the 2008 recession forced many companies to cut back. Obviously companies saw the value of increasing their investment, and catalogs are still a favorite of industry leaders such as Victoria’s Secret, Crate & Barrel and Eddie Bauer, among others.

Catalogs are a reliable tool that provides a consistent return on investment. Here are ten tips for developing a successful catalog:

  1. Make an investment in professional design, photography and printing. It will be well worth the investment. The best catalogs are highly visual, they have a likelihood of being saved, increasing their lifespan.
  2. Keep a consistent look, so your brand is readily recognizable.
  3. Design for your target market. Are you selling clothing, kitchen appliances, electronics? Tailor the design of your catalog to your audience.
  4. Cover is key. An interesting and eye-catching cover will make people take notice, and improve the chances that your potential customers will look inside.
  5. Include a special offer or coupon on the cover with an expiration date to spur action.
  6. Lead with your most appealing and most popular products.
  7. Cross-sell between products. Suggest items that work well together, such as a top that goes well with certain slacks or accessories for a computer.
  8. Keep your copy easy to read and add some educational aspects. Catalogs often become reference tools.
  9. Make sure ordering info is simple and easy to find.
  10. Take the time to develop and high-quality mailing list.

Once your catalog is completed, upload it to your website and use a pdf for an email campaign as well. Print extras to send home in the shopping bags of customers who make in-store purchases, it’s a great way to increase sales with your existing customers.

The print and design experts at Corcoran Printing can help you develop a full-color catalog that will enable you to achieve your sales goals. For more information visit


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Automotive catalog allows business to advertise new part numbers and engine applications

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Numerous small businesses take advantage of the chance to offer consumers a tangible service reminder through catalog printing, and the automotive industry is no different.

Recently, FRAM Heavy Duty published its 2011 Commercial Vehicle Heavy Duty Catalog that features heavy duty specialists and more traditional automotive distributors. Additionally, the annual catalog provides recipients with expanded coverage and the option to access information that will be updated monthly online.

The 2011 catalog will allow consumers to find information on 77 new part numbers, more than 780 new engine applications and 5,000 new competitive cross references, among other things.

"With the expansion of both on-highway and off-highway heavy duty applications, it's important we create a go-to resource that’s user-friendly, comprehensive, detailed and helps simplify the decision making process for our customers," said Layne Gobrogge, heavy duty product manager for FRAM, in a recent statement.

Catalog printing initiatives offer any business, regardless of the industry, a number of benefits, including credibility and low per-unit cost, Inc. magazine writes.

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Cover changes can give old catalogs a fresh look

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Businesses that use catalog printing to engage both new and loyal consumers feel pressure to send new materials on a frequent basis or risk boring consumers, or even being forgotten by them.

However, for entrepreneurs on a tight budget, creating and printing new catalogs regularly can be a costly venture. Luckily, there are a few tricks that business owners can employ to make their old catalogs look new.

For example, companies should consider using the same inside content but switching up their covers. This is an "ancient cataloging technique," according to the website, and can minimize creative costs because marketers will only need to design one page.

Another technique that can be employed is changing the opening spread (pages 1 and 2). However, this can double printing charges, as these pages will need to be printed double-sided and require plate changes.

Regardless, catalogs have an advantage over newer mediums such as digital, seeing as they are a physical piece that requires consumer effort to read, move or even throw out.

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