Paper catalogs used to be the primary form of advertising for many retailers. The very word "catalog" likely brings to mind the inches-thick Sears mailers that filled mailboxes for decades.
As the world digitizes and many traditional catalogs give way to online newsletters, it can feel tempting to eschew a traditional paper catalog entirely. But, this is a mistake for numerous reasons.
Are Catalogs Still Relevant?
Given the current digital environment, why is distributing a physical catalog still so crucial? And furthermore, why should you choose an online printing service to help you produce your paper catalog?
Over the past two decades, an online shopping presence combined with a digital catalog campaign has gone from a luxury to a necessity for businesses of all shapes and sizes, with and without physical stores. At the same time, paper catalogs distributed via the post office are still an important piece of the marketing puzzle for several key reasons.
Difference in Paper Catalogs and Digital Advertisements
Paper catalogs have one main advantage over digital, and that’s their tangibility.
When integrating catalogs into your marketing mix, you can be certain eventually a physical, printed catalog lands in your prospects' hands. So even if your customer doesn't spend time looking through your catalog, you can know that they've at least seen your business' name and are somewhat aware of your current offerings.
This stands in stark contrast to digital catalogs, which are often delivered via e-mail and can be easily sent to your customers' junk or trash folders, sight unseen.
More importantly, the physical nature of paper catalogs encourages browsing in a way that digital catalogs cannot. This is true for all categories of consumers, from youngest to oldest.
Millennials, the group most thought to ignore traditional advertisements in favor of online digital ads or social media ads, self-report that they overwhelmingly pay attention to physical mail and prefer to receive information via traditional mail catalogs versus e-mail.
Additionally, 50% of all millennials report that they ignore digital advertisements, while only 15% of this group admit to disregarding catalogs and other direct mail that lands in their mailbox.
In other words, although consumers are aware that they can go onto the Internet to research various offers more deeply, a tangible and physical advertisement still holds a unique draw.
Even though the number of paper catalogs mailed to consumers is lower than it was just a decade ago, prospective customers still respond strongly to physical catalogs. The Data & Marketing Association found…
- more than 100 million consumers made at least one order from a paper catalog in 2016
- over ⅓ of potential customers still use direct mail catalogs to learn about product offerings
Given the reasons why physical catalogs remain so important to customers, creating and distributing a paper catalog for your business' offerings should be an important piece of your overall marketing strategy.
So, how can you a find printer that is the perfect fit for your catalog printing needs?
3 Benefits of Online Printing Services for Paper Catalogs
For many years, print shops tended to be local establishments serving businesses in the immediate area. However, with the proliferation of online businesses, a new class of online printing services has emerged that can serve clients all over the country.
This is the choice you'll likely have to make when choosing a printing service for your paper catalog—a local printing company or an online printing service?
As you weigh your options, here are three key reasons to opt for an online printing service for your business' physical catalog.
Perhaps the number one reason to choose an online printer is the convenience they offer from start to finish. With a local print shop, you're forced to work with their schedule--even if it doesn't easily fit with your own time demands.
The ordering process with an online pricing service is simpler and more convenient, with many of the steps taking place on your own schedule. Whether it’s in the middle of the workday or the middle of the night, you can complete any of the following steps in your ordering process whenever fits your schedule…
- request a quote
- set up an order
- review options like paper quality, color range, etc.
- submit order payment
Compare this to the average brick-and-mortar print shop, which likely operates only within standard business hours (which probably happen to be your standard business hours as well).
Whether you're interested in creating a large photo-heavy catalog to distribute to thousands of customers or you want a simple marketing piece that can augment your online presence, an online printing service is likely to offer you a significantly better price than your local print shop. For more information on how much it costs to print catalogs, see one of our recent blogs on the topic.
Why is this the case? Simple: it's a matter of scale.
Online printers tend to have larger workloads, with multiple clients utilizing the same printing processes. This allows the printer to use larger printing runs, reducing the time and manpower used for set-up. This translates into significant savings that the online printer passes onto you.
Automation is more common among online printers as well, further streamlining their processes and resulting in time savings that can translate into significant savings on your order.
3. Design and Proofing Capabilities
By utilizing web-to-print portals, online printers make designing and proofing catalogs straightforward and painless.
For more complex orders, the ability to review digital proofs is one of the key advantages of any online printer. Local printers typically do not offer such a service. A digital preview helps ensure that your business' catalog is exactly what you expect it to be before going to print.
Design & Print Paper Catalogs Online
In short, while the nature of advertising has undergone changes with the advent of digital media, a print catalog holds a unique allure for consumers of all kinds. Utilizing an online printing service for your business' physical catalog can help you take advantage of this appeal and attract more customers to purchase your products or services in the future.
Order Your Own Catalog Now!