Catalogs Are Cool and Making a Comeback

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You can learn a lot about someone when you enter they’re living room and take a glance at their well-appointed coffee table. 

They have styled it with a homeopathic, meditative candle, coasters from the last vacation, a stack of books, and between them all lies one retail catalog. It’s so impressively and wonderfully designed, printed, and packaged that it qualifies to adorn the coffee table trophy case. It is tactile and delicious and touchy-feely. It has that fresh, “right-off-the-press” scent.

Catalogs are trendy and hip and chock-full of great product photos. They are a venue for your brand story and product descriptions. Designers and writers alike dream to work on them and it shows, as they can be true pieces of art. 

That, ladies and gentlemen, is when they become coffee-table worthy. Just ask Restoration Hardware, Patagonia, Ikea, Boden, J-Crew, Free People, Nordstrom, Design Within Reach, Room And Board, Hermes, and Birchbox. Even Amazon is getting into the game.

These are brands that didn’t ditch e-commerce but supplemented it with creative and aesthetic direct mail pieces that wound up in everyday mailboxes. Catalogs can double as physical, analog, graphic design, and photographic masterpieces. Something digital marketing, e-commerce, and social media can’t deliver. They simply hang out at your consumer’s home where others can also pick them up, read, enjoy and shop!

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There’s research to support why you may want to mix things up and consider a swanky catalog piece for your next marketing campaign. The Harvard Business Review noted from 2004-2018, catalog response rates have increased by 170% and they discovered the following from a study of a luxury e-commerce retailer:

  • An “email + catalog” group experienced 49% lift in sales and 125% lift in inquiries. In comparison, an “email-only” group only had 28% increase in sales and 77 % lift in inquiries.
  • 90% of the customers who browsed through the catalogs kept them for an average of seven days.
  • With the average cost of the mailing including front-end design costs, the campaign yielded a direct ROI of 600%, not to mention the additional customer engagement from increased inquiries.

10 Reasons Why Catalogs Win

As a silent salesman, catalogs hang out so they can be enjoyed. They tell your brand story over and over again to more than just one reader. These days each catalog seems to be more vivid and visual than the next. Here is a list of our favorite reasons why catalogs need to be part of your marketing mix:

  1. Catalogs influence purchase decisions.
  2. Catalogs can leverage customer data for a personalized experience.
  3. Neuroscience research supports that a tangible catalog leaves a longer-lasting impression vs. digital marketing. 
  4. Consumers can engage with a catalog on their own time.
  5. Catalogs help drive consumers into the store.
  6. Readers engage with catalogs on a much deeper level which creates a more emotional connection.
  7. Catalogs stimulate multiple senses.
  8. All generations seem to love physical pieces, especially millennials.
  9. Catalogs can be printed on recycled paper.
  10. Catalogs end up in your hands.

At Bigger Dot, we have experience in creating, and printing high-quality catalogs as powerhouse marketing tools. We can embellish these tactical masterpieces with embossing, debossing, foiling, die-cutting, spot varnishing, soft touch coatings, and more. We believe that these components can create a multi-sensory experience that will give your brand the prestige and value it deserves.

Contact us to start the discussion of your next project.


bigger dot is a global print project management company that provides custom, specialized and strategic print project solutions. We work with industries such as performing arts, tech, education, aerospace, and corporate culture changers.