Catalogue & Home Shopping: Flick Then Click.

Flicker, clicker or both?

There has been a long held view that Catalogue and Home Shopping companies are a little staid, a little outdated or just plain old old-fashioned. There is also a slightly more modern view that the internet and shopping on the internet in particular, is for techies or whiz kids or dare I say, for young people.

I’m sure you’ll have your own view on the matter, but opinions aside, there is a growing audience who recognise that neither viewpoint has any substance today.

If there’s such a thing as a mercenary shopper, then I believe I’m it, and I strongly urge you to join me. Any retailer of any description will curse me for saying this but the fact is, there are an incredible number of places for you to spend your hard earned cash and in today’s retail environment, finding the best deal no longer involves fighting your way through the weekend crowds or pounding the pavements up and down the high street.

The Internet has brought the high street right into your living room and in doing so it has also brought both opportunity and dilemma for both the staid old Catalogue businesses and, the snappy new web only retailers. It’s also because of the internet that neither can afford to sit on their laurels.

Catalogue and Home Shopping retailers can no longer rely on the lure of extended credit terms to attract new customers because credit can now be obtained with ease and far cheaper, which is where the newer internet only retailers are cashing in. It’s fair to say that the traditional Catalogue and Home Shopping retailers recognise this fact and the more astute ones now have an internet presence as well. However, despite their traditional credit hungry customers being in decline, they still account for a significant chunk of their business and as such, cutting them loose would be commercial suicide. They have no choice but to endeavour to satisfy their old customers and their new ones.

The upshot of these dilemmas for you and I is opportunity. To keep pace with web only retailers, Catalogue and Home Shopping retailers are being forced to come up with new initiatives to attract new customers and yet despite the undoubted success of some of these new initiatives, there is no shortage of irony when they play their ace. Their ace is that they still produce printed catalogues and not only that, they produce very good printed catalogues. The production of these very good catalogues has been fine tuned over many, many years and to their readers, they have always been held dear. The printed catalogue of today is a brilliant shop window which offers plenty of product information, beautiful detail filled photography which is as colour accurate as possible to ensure customer satisfaction.

The new mercenary shoppers (me!) are taking advantage of, and are enjoying the opportunity to pick up a catalogue, browse, read and compare, before going online to browse, read and compare, and only when they have found the best deal, do they place an order. No crowds, no queues, no sore feet, no communal changing rooms just the best possible choice at the best possible price. Consumer heaven.

I urge you to become a mercenary shopper. Go online, order a free catalogue and browse, read and compare to your hearts content and then, and only then, part with your hard earned cash and enjoy your choice.

As always, Happy shopping.

Copyright (c) 2007 Sam Benton