CATALOG MARKET OUTLOOK --Sales on Back Order
The major challenges facing the catalog industry are the general strength of the economy and the resulting impact on the willingness of consumers and businesses alike to continue to purchase new goods and services, Paloian says. "In addition, threats of or actual global instability and terrorism have the ability to negatively affect the economy and spending, and therefore are potential major challenges. From a more conventional perspective, increases in paper or postal costs, while not expected, would also have a significantly negative impact."
Printers can play a meaningful role in their catalog clients' efforts to boost sales, Paloian asserts. "Opportunities exist for differentiating the overall look of the catalog itself, as well as how the cataloger markets to its customers and prospects," he explains. "For example, some catalogers have been very effective at implementing direct mail or Internet campaigns that are tied to their catalog offerings. Sophisticated personalization continues to deliver positive results to those catalogers with sufficient data to implement programs.
"Quebecor World, specifically, offers such unique products as 'e-Drives' and 'Power wraps,' which are innovative means of driving traffic to a cataloger's Website or retail outlet, or enhancing the sales from the catalog itself," Paloian continues. "Our long-standing experience and expertise in direct mail allows us to provide catalogers with additional products and services to complement their catalogs and to drive new revenue. On the production side, use of 'Catalog Magician'—Quebecor World's automated publishing system designed to streamline catalog layout and design—continues to gain momentum in the marketplace. This represents the 'next step' in evolving digital workflows."
Perry Judd's Inc. has seen its catalog customers reacting in several ways to the economic climate, reports Craig Hutchison, president and CEO of the Waterloo, WI-based printer. "For one, they are reducing page counts by culling marginally performing products from their offerings to customers. Typical reductions in page counts might be in the 10 to 20 percent range of the historic base number of pages for any given production," he says. "In addition, we are seeing adjustments in the level of prospecting done—down as much as 50 percent from 2001 levels (pre- 9/11)—by some catalog clients as a means of reducing costs.