Contrary to popular belief, printed catalogues are more popular than ever. There’s been a long held view that Catalogues and Home Shopping would suffer a long and painful decline in both popularity and effectiveness in the face of online activity and competition. In fact the reverse is true.
Some very switched on retailers have seen the internet as a brilliant opportunity to build on their strengths and to address their weaknesses. The criticisms of limited selection, limited sizes, limited choice in fact the limitations of printed publications in general have been addressed in impressive style.
Catalogue and Home Shopping companies who recognise these drawbacks as opportunities are creating a customer experience like never before.
Littlewoods, Argos and Next all offer an irresistible array of shopping channels for internet and seasoned shoppers alike, and the consumer confidence that they inspire means that they will among the pacesetters in terms of online growth.
Rather than reduce production of printed catalogues, customer feedback suggests that there is still a real demand. No Catalogue or Home Shopping website would be without a Request a Catalogue’ feature. Many more Catalogue and Home Shopping companies are supplementing their traditional printed catalogue with an online presence and vice versa.
Multi-channel retailers are seeing online growth like never before. This year, in addition to sales from their Catalogues and bricks & Mortar shopping channels, online retail sales in the UK are expected to top 42 billion pounds, this is predicted to rise to 60 billion by 2012.
As a supplement to their printed catalogues, the more creative retailers are using their online presence to offer extended fashion ranges, a greater range of sizes, and introduce new ranges faster than their high street only competitors.
The pace of technological innovation ensures that online retailers can offer more and more appealing features. Like anything new, the first release of something is generally a basic affair with limited function. Very quickly new versions and updates introduce enough innovation to keep customers interested.
Online retailing is no different. One of the first enhancements was the zoom and pan functions which allowed customers to enlarge images to show close up details. This was quickly supplemented with a shop by spread feature, which brought together the Catalogue and Home Shopping experience by presenting customers with pages online that followed the same layout as the printed catalogue.
Further innovations will certainly follow and without doubt they will make the Catalogue and Home Shopping online customer experience an enviable one. In short, greater fashion ranges, greater size ranges and a quicker delivery of new trends to market means that there has never been a better time to be on the customer end of the shopping equation.
As always, Happy Shopping