The emergence of pure play online retailers has caused disruption in the retail landscape since the launch of Amazon in 1995. Online sales continue to make gains. In Q2 of this year, e-commerce sales grew faster than they have in nearly two years according to Internet Retailer. For the always-on consumer, the online channel provides convenience and immediate access to products and information. Advances in digital technology and mobile now make the online shopping experience even easier for consumers with one-click checkout and in-app purchases.
Still, in order to sustain the momentum and growth of the online channel, marketers need to continually evaluate their marketing efforts and understand the importance of a multichannel retail approach. With this, we’re seeing pure play online retailers that have begun to integrate additional channels into their marketing strategy, including the catalog. In today’s market, retailers often start with an online only business model and then incorporate offline where historically, offline was the starting point.
At the NEMOA directXchange conference last month, Anda Pho, head of marketing at True&Co presented a keynote session sharing why the retailer decided to adpot a multichannel strategy. In her keynote entitled, Taking the catalog leap: using customized data to deliver customer-relevant content in every form, Anda shared, “In order to build a data-driven brand, having the ability to reach her both online and offline is essential. It’s become part of the new experience of True&Co and the catalog helps to tell our story, wherever our customers are.”
The catalog is an opportunity for brands to tell their story that provides unique advantages that an online experience simply cannot. Recent holiday shopping research from Epsilon found that 77% of respondents report taking a lot of time to pick the perfect gift for most people on their list. The catalog offers a tangible brand experience and allows consumers to slow down their shopping process.
So as you’re embracing the digital transformation of which we’re all a part of, don’t forget the key benefits of a multichannel strategy. For example, Nordstrom reported that customers who have a multichannel relationship with their brand spend four times as much as those who do not. Further, Forrester Research predicts that cross-channel retail sales will reach $1.8 trillion in the U.S. by 2017.
The catalog is a key component of a marketer’s multichannel strategy as it brings the brand to life, is a powerful engagement tool and can increase sales.