March 22, 2013
Department store chain Bloomingdale’s is aiming at young, affluent shoppers with its spring 2013 catalog that was mailed out to its customer list.
The 135-page catalog contains many pages with additional content such as pull-out postcards and extra booklets that correlate with the generational theme. Catalogs can be a strong marketing tool for retailers, but most books are usually directed toward an older demographic.
"Bloomingdale's is certainly making it no secret about its desire to attract a younger audience," said Dave Rodgerson, senior management consultant of retail strategy and change at IBM Canada, Toronto. "This is clear with the images that the retailer has used to illustrate its new fashion offering.
"Traditional catalogs are very expensive and this audience is much more likely to visit the Web site than spend time paging through a magazine," he said.
"Any retailer chasing this market needs to leverage the technology associated with the audience to win them over: smartphones."
Mr. Rodgerson is not affiliated with Bloomingdale's, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Bloomingdale's did not respond by press deadline. The chain is part of Macy's Inc., also owner of the Macy's department store franchise.
The cover contains two pages of thicker pages that are cut down the middle to give consumers a feeling of mixing up trends. The cover says, "The new mix."
The final full page of the cover reads “Hot New You” and the dates March 14-24.
During these 11 days, Bloomingdale’s Loyallist rewards members can earn triple points for any purchases made.
The points offer is placed on the side of almost every page in the magazine to serve as a reminder that triple points are offered for every purchase.
In addition, there also partial page inserts serving as other reminders of the extra points. The inserts have a bright purple background so consumers will not pass over them.
Loyallist points reminder
The catalog also features postcard pullouts that show off looks from certain designers on the front and have a message about the collection on the back.
The postcards contain messages to further promote a brand or collection that is available at Bloomingdale’s.
One reads, “You would be obsessed with Comptoir Des Cotonniers! For every mood, for every moment - The Perfect Look. (It’s just like we dreamed.)”
Further into the catalog, there is a smaller booklet in the shoe section that offers a quick look at new styles for this season. The 16-page booklet is printed on a smaller matte-paper.
The remainder of the catalog goes through each department’s new looks with the purple Loyallist points reminders in between pages.
In the back there is an events calendar about happenings and special offers at certain store locations.
The last page shows off the Loyallist’s contest that will give 10 members a $5,000 rewards card. Loyallist members can enter by shopping March 14-24.
Other luxury retailers are using print marketing this season to reach their audience.
For instance, New York department store Bergdorf Goodman’s 328-page spring collection magalog featured both men’s and women’s products on alternate sides of the issue along with ads and editorial content on both sides (see story).
Print still remains a relevant medium for luxury marketers.
"We are living in a period of time where more communication and business is conducted online," said Courtney Albert, management consultant at Parker Avery Group, Atlanta.
"Receiving a personalized piece of direct mail can go a long way in the minds of a consumer, specifically for one who does not often receive mail," she said.
However, this could be seen as a risky medium for a marketer that is trying to reach a younger demographic.
"Rather than pull-out postcards, which are expensive and have a poor response rate, a better strategy might be to include catalog content that will drive the reader to their Web presence when they use their phone to scan an image or a QR code," IBM's Mr. Rodgerson said.
"Another tactic that would play well to this audience is to encourage them to share the Bloomingdale's experience through social media," he said.
Indeed, marketers should look to all of their channels to reach this young group of consumers.
"It is dangerous to execute a marketing campaign based on very general observations," Parker Avery's Ms. Albert said.
"For example, not all female consumers aged 25-35 will positively respond to a purely digital campaign or even print campaign," she said. "Not only is this group very diverse, but also tend to consume information and shop differently channel to channel.
"Every marketing touch point should be approached as part of a complete omnichannel strategy."
Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York