MSK Partners

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Design, communication and what's on our mind

Case Study: Print adds to the online experience

Impressive advances in e-commerce websites— and consumer web proficiency— have changed the business of online shopping. But while retailers started to downplay the importance of catalogs a few years ago, there is still plenty to be gained from those print products.

According to Coy Clement, who runs catalog and multichannel direct marketing consultancy, online shoppers who read retail catalogs are often better at using e-tail websites than those that get there through search engines. A look at one of his client’s website’s — J.Crew — shows how retailers can take those lessons to heart.

Clement finds that catalogs are an excellent way to direct consumers, both online and off: “I’ve seen cases where people who’ve received the catalog buy the featured items. They know what they’re looking for, and they use the catalog as a guide to what the company is selling. People who show up through organic search have much more difficulty navigating the Website because they really don’t know what the key items are.”

But while catalogs are still a great way to reach consumers, the ways that people interact with them are changing. Says Clement: “If you’re selling electronics for instance, anybody who’s a sophisticated electronics shopper knows that by the time you get the catalog, it’s old news. So if you send out catalogs, there’s got to be a purpose other than announcing new products in the electronics field. For a given audience or product category, print meets the customers’ needs differently.”

Filed under: Technology

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