Marketing Guides
Catalogue Infographic: How Technology Is Breathing New Life Into Australia’s Favourite Media
24 July 2013
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There is no better example than the annual Toy Sale promotion

Combine you print and digital catalogue to increase ROI

The relevance of on and offline marketing integration has never been greater; for some years now retailers have been taking advantage of the fact that consumers who engaged across more than one channel will shop more often, spend more in store and online, and display greater loyalty. The Australian retail marketing scene is somewhat unique though, with the good ol’ catalogue still flowing through the veins of the Aussie consumer shopping culture.

So what role has catalogue played in the new multichannel landscape, and how will it evolve in the year ahead?

First lets take a look at this media we call ‘unaddressed mail’. Catalogues are an indispensable part of the marketing mix for a few very good reasons. They reach 18.25 million people in 6.9 million households every week , they can be used to tell a short story or bring a full product range into the homes of Australian consumers. The primary shopper of the family flicks through the supermarket specials to plan the weekly shop, the kids scour the pages of toys, and the car buff of the household gets the auto catalogues. The point is, they find their way to the relevant readers. We’ve all experienced this ourselves at home.

More importantly than any of this though, the cost of producing this media in relevance to the reach and sales uplift they achieve continues to delight the retailers that invest in this channel.

Don’t believe the hype? Research conducted this year by Roy Morgan shows the print catalogue is as popular as ever; and it hasn’t moved from its spot as the fourth most popular medium in ten years. Some 70% of all Australians read catalogues, including a surprising 66% of the so-called “internet generation”, aged 25-34 (Australian Catalogue Association 2013), which means the catalogue has lots of legs with Gen-Y.

OK, so we’ve established that catalogues are far from being left behind. The role of the catalogue in a modern retail marketing landscape is evolving though, and it’s adding brand new value to multichannel campaigns. In the digital era, where social media, QR codes, ecommerce and even augmented reality, are fast becoming common place the catalogue remains the corner stone and can now provide this technology on paper and provide the consumer with a more interactive experience.

If there’s one time of year that you can expect retailers to push for differentiation through creative use of technology in catalogue, it’s during the sale that stops a nation. It’s the week that generates more sales than any other week outside of December for most department stores, the week that media spends peaks, catalogues thicken and overflowing trolleys hit layby queues in store brimming with Santa surprises, it’s the infamous mid-year Toy Sales.

Over the years, we’ve seen retailers add more and more media to their Toy Sale pre-promotion armory, building awareness and excitement amongst children and hip-pocket-conscious parents alike. Toy retailers invest a huge portion of their budgets in television advertising, outdoor, press, radio and online and lots of this promotional activity is in anticipation of the Toy Sale catalogue arriving in the letterbox.

So how does the catalogue and all the fancy new technology bring it all together?

Catalogues are now being used as a way to promote and encourage many different paths to purchase beyond the traditional store visit – including smart phone applications that power interactive browsing, clever online shopping integrations and the growing “click and collect” option for consumers.

Whilst the humble QR code has become relatively mainstream, it’s the newer image-recognition technologies that are enabling consumers to ‘scan’ any section of any page to view ‘virtual content’ (pages that sit behind pages, but only in a virtual sense), watch product demonstration videos or infomercials, share favourite offers with friends through social media, and ultimately build a shopping list to purchase later or right on the spot.

So if the future of the catalogue is so ‘digital’, why are toy retailers not just publishing their catalogues online?

They are, but to support and compliment their print catalogues. Print catalogues have the power to interrupt in a way that online catalogues and ecommerce can’t. Research shows the printed toy catalogues win first place above all other media as the most useful media for information when purchasing toys.

As a preferred source of information, consumers are also retaining catalogues for longer periods of time; over one third (37%) keep their catalogues for at least five or more days (Roy Morgan). For the Toy Sale campaigns, which typically last for 2-4 weeks, retailers invest in a high quality catalogues because they know it stays on the kitchen table for longer than most other catalogues.

It’s absolutely clear that the integration of print media and digital technologies is here to stay. With the push towards driving consumer purchases both in store and online now, and with the Toy Sale being the hyper-competitive retail season it is, July will be a great time to watch in the catalogue space. By successfully leveraging the strengths of printed catalogues and marrying those with the new interactive technologies and supporting mainstream media channels, retailers will create truly engaging and interactive experiences for their prospective customers.

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