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Catalogs need to be part of a multichannel approach

August 9, 2011

Bergdorf Goodman's Pre Fall magazine/catalog


As technology continues to evolve and consumers are integrating new ways to shop, luxury branded catalogs are becoming more in-depth and incorporating other channels such as mobile, in-store and digital to enhance the customer experience.

Catalogs should be not freestanding marketing tools, rather they need to be combined into multichannel approaches to fully optimize cataloging efforts. Bergdorf Goodman seems to know this, as its Fall Preview magalog drives consumers in-store, online and onto the branded mobile efforts.

“A catalog is a printed salesperson for your company,” said John Schulte, president of the National Mail Order Association, Minneapolis, MN.

“It reaches out and introduces, it reinforces, it builds awareness, it creates desire and it drives sales,” he said.  “It's been proven over and over that direct mail and catalogs drive Web traffic and sales.”

Channel surfing
Brands need to remember that a catalogs work best when incorporated into a larger marketing effort.

For example, a branded Web site should have an obvious link that allows users to sign up for a mail catalog.

As consumers register to receive a mail catalog, a brand can also ask for their mobile numbers to extend its mobile marketing efforts, such as SMS messaging or an optimized site.

In addition, every print advertisement should have a well-placed mention of a brand’s catalog and a toll-free number for ordering it. Conversely, a catalog should have references that drive consumers in-store or online to gain more information and order certain products.

This can include incentives such as “certain colors only available online at” or “this style only available in-store.”

A catalog should also contain scanable bar codes or call-to-action SMS messaging that bring on-the-go consumers to branded mobile applications and sites.

Bergdorfs showcases its digital efforts on a catalog page

Bergdorfs does good

Retailer Bergdorf Goodman has sent its consumers a Fall Preview magalog that contains a lot of positive examples for luxury brands.

The front of the book consists mainly of advertisements featuring many products and product lines that are exclusive to Bergdorf Goodman.

For example, the Illusion D’Ombre Chanel eye shadow ad will most likely drive consumers in-store to try on the make-up before buying.

 In addition, a Guerlain ad for its new lipstick line, Rouge Automatique, offers readers a free lip brush with an in-store call-to-action.

In another effort to drive catalog readers in-store, Bergdorf includes the location and floor for every featured item.

Additionally, one full page in the catalog is dedicated to the brand’s digital media efforts such as its blog, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter handles.

Bergdorf also drives consumers to its mobile site with QR codes in the product pages, which are presented in the form of magazine fashion features.

Bergdorfs sends consumers to mobile site to watch video

For example, in the catalog's Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci two-page spread, the left side of the page features a QR code that brings catalog viewers to the brand’s mobile site where they can watch an exclusive Givenchy video.

“The basic thing to remember is that a catalog is a printed advertising vehicle, but it's also an extension of your store and your store's image,” Mr. Schulte said.

“It tells your story and influences readers,” he said. “ And it's a method of shopping that some people still prefer.”

Final Take

Kayla Hutzler, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York