CATALOGS — Riding the e-Wave

“Catalogers have come to realize that, to be successful, they need to have a multi-channel presence, consisting of print, online, and brick and mortar,” remarks Zuccarini.

Several major catalogs have heeded the call of print, online, and brick and mortar, says Zuccarini. Two top catalogers, Coldwater Creek and J. Jill, have opened retail stores and launched aggressive plans for expansion. Coldwater Creek also distributed 34 percent more catalogs in 2000 and generated more than $18 million in online sales, resulting in an overall 30 percent increase in sales in all channels.

Another industry leader, Spiegel, is also testing a “netalog”—a catalog with a specific category focus that features additional product information not found in its regular catalog. It encourages customers to shop online, creating multi-channel buyers who tend to purchase more than single-channel buyers, adds Zuccarini.

“Contrary to popular belief, the surge in Internet purchasing, which has increased nearly 85 percent to about $61 billion in 2000 over 1999, has not caused a reduction of print. Instead, it has created new avenues for print, and we have seen increased pages promoting Websites and other channels. We believe, along with our customers, that overall, the Internet drives print. Virtual dotcoms are using newspaper inserts, direct marketing and catalogs in an attempt to lead consumers to their Websites,” he says.

And as catalogers continue to harness the power of the Internet, catalog printers can expect to see a trend toward the further development of multi-channel marketing initiatives, reports John Paloian, president, Magazine/Catalog Group, Quebecor World. Quebecor weighed in as the number two ranked catalog printer with $1.11 billion in sales.

“As catalogers continue to find new ways to extract value from the Internet, the focus on multi-channel marketing initiatives will continue to demand a lot of their time and attention,” he adds. “Customer solutions that enable clients to optimize their combined catalog, retail and Internet marketing initiatives will drive this market in 2001.”

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