Despite frequent claims from the digital industry that print is dead, the traditional catalogue shows no signs of dying. In fact, recent research by YouGov shows that 24 percent of consumers have ordered an item after browsing a print catalogue in the last year.
There are numerous reasons why people still prefer print catalogues. We must remember that not everyone is digital-savvy and many prefer to shop through a catalogue. Some people do not use the internet at all, and others are still unhappy about using their credit cards to pay for goods online.
But importantly, the non-digital generation has a lot of spending power, so it is important to anticipate and fulfil their needs. Equally, however internet-savvy you are, can you beat thumbing through a well-designed and well-photographed catalogue full of beautiful photography, while sitting down with a cuppa?
So in this digital age, how do retailers and their creative agencies ensure they deliver a seamless experience across print, in-store and online? A retailerís customer base can be fragmented, but it still needs to offer a streamlined experience for both a satisfactory customer journey and brand continuity. A print catalogue must be designed with online use in mind, and vice versa.
And letís not forget that many consumers use all three methods of shopping. Perhaps an individual will see an item in-store, order the catalogue to browse through lifestyle shots for inspiration, compare prices online and then place an order.
APS Group has worked with a number of top UK retailers across their online and offline catalogue shopping strategies. Here are our top five tips on how to integrate that customer journey to ensure your catalogue works across channels.
1. Plot your customer journey
Does your customer journey work across both print and digital channels? Have you physically sat down and gone through the entire journey both on and offline? Do you know how each customer prefers to interact with your brand? How do the two strategies compare? Do they complement each other? Analyse each step of the journey to see how it could be improved.
2. Ensure your market research covers integrated journeys
Do not ignore the wealth of information at your fingertips by gathering all the information from your consumersí shopping habits. If customers order a print catalogue, should you send them an email offer the following week? Are they more likely to make a purchase? Any information you can analyse about the customer and purchase journey will help you plot marketing strategy to support the catalogue and online store.
3. Encourage digital customers to go offline
Many companies do not see the benefits of driving online customers into stores or to ordering print catalogues. However, if someone is planning a purchase, perhaps it would help him to flick through lifestyle shots or visit a store where he will be able to see and touch your products, talk to shop assistants and view your full range of offerings. Consider asking online customers if they would like to find out where their nearest retail outlet is and give them a voucher to be redeemed in-store. You could then notify store assistants to expect them and have purchase recommendations at the ready.
4. Gather digital information from offline customers
Email addresses can be collected at the point of sale in-store or at the point of order for print catalogues. This information is invaluable to keep customers interested long after they have walked out the door. If you can send them regular news, offers and new marketing material by email they are more likely to make repeat purchases.
5. Donít ignore the fragmented nature of the online world
It is important for marketers to remember that online no longer just means a consumer sitting in front of a PC. Now brands have to tailor their offerings for mobile, tablet, smartphone apps and social media. Ensure your digital offerings are compatible across all internet platforms. Do you have a mobile-friendly website? Perhaps you need to consider a smartphone app to add to the mix? Do you provide access details for all of your digital channels within your printed catalogue?
Creating synergies between your print and digital catalogues helps to ensure consistency across every customer touchpoint. Where online catalogues offer ease of use, improved interaction and can be tailored to customer requirements, a print catalogue gives retailers a chance to shine visually and means their brand is consistently at the customersí fingertips. A strategy that leverages both is key to improving both sales and customer loyalty.
Andrew McCallum, head of studio Services at APS Group, a marketing and print management company.
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