Catalogs Even More Popular With E-Commerce Success

from the paperless?--no-way... dept

For years, we’ve always heard stories about how digital technologies would help get rid of paper, but it hasn’t really happened. The supposedly “paperless office” increased paper usage, and now for all the talk about how online commerce was going to kill the traditional paper catalog business, we find out that catalogs are doing better than ever, with more of them going out every year. The catalog retailers say that the the paper catalogs actually drive a lot of business to their online storefronts, and help get people interested in going to the site. Of course, it’s possible that this is just a temporary blip driven by generational issues. After all, for all the talk about how the paperless office was a myth, more recent studies have shown that some companies are starting to reduce paper usage, and it may have just taken a generation shift to move those who were attached to paper out of the office. It will be interesting to see if the same thing happens with paper catalogs as well.

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Comments on “Catalogs Even More Popular With E-Commerce Success”

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Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Catalogs Are Online Shopping's Curse

I hate catalogs. They fill my mailbox. Especially at this time of year.

I try to do all my gift shopping online, so that I don’t have to face the malls. It’s fast, easy, efficient. I search, browse, and buy, and let UPS and USPS do the driving. My gifts arrive on-time and stress free.

But then, the nightmare starts. Most of the online stores decide that I must want their monthly catalog since I bought a spice rack in December. Even though I try hard to click every opt-out button I can, I still get a mess of emails and catalogs sent to me starting mid-December. I dutifully unsubscribe to all that I can, phoning the catalog guys, etc. By June, I have stemmed the flow. But every year, it happens again.

I always wondered why online retailers took an electronic customer like me, and blasted me with paper, but the post above from Mike explains why. I’m lumped in with those that browse on paper, and buy online. bummer. Please, stop killing trees in my name.

Willie Mac says:

National opt out snail mail

Just like the national opt out of telemarketers; there needs to be a national opt out of junk paper mail, circulars, flyers, bulk mail etc… If it were not for the goverment postal service it self that would loose a small amount of money, then it wold probably already be in place. A couple of states have already done this and their population is generally pleased at the lack of junk in there physical mail box.

Sanguine Dream says:

I'm guilty

I have to admit that I’m one of those people that will get a catalog, look it over then buy it online. The thing is I don’t regularly look at online catalogs and the only way I see a good sale is when paper catalog somes in the mail. Mind you this is for one store and one store only and I don’t mind the paper cuz I order from them several times a year. I just wish Eastbay would stop sending me books. I ordered a pair of shoes from them 8-9 months ago (which I returned cuz they were too small) and they’ve been hitting with books ever since.

Matt Mendolera (user link) says:

Me, too

I’m not surprised by this at all, for the same reason Sanguine isn’t–it works, and I partake in it! I shop at either when I know I want something specific (a sweater, a belt, etc.) or when one of their emails catches my eye. I love the fact that when my items arrive, a catalog is in the box, too. That way, whenever I have time to relax on my couch, I can look through and find out what else looks good with my new clothing, or what I didn’t notice online–and then I can go log in and purchase it.

Stu says:

I’ve been in the “paperless office” business since 1990.

A running joke is that every time someone says the phrase “paperless office” the paper manufacturers have to build a new factory. (oops I did it again)

There is a difference in the types of paper being used in offices, though. There is less pre-printed paper – business forms, etc – and more blank paper being used as needed.

The “paperless office” will not even happen in the lifetime of our grandchildren. What we are attaining is the “less paper office” with cheaper paper – laser printing on blank is cheaper than pre-printed.

Software and technology are not the bottleneck – people are.

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