7th August 2019

The Mighty Comeback of Print Catalogues

by Alessandro Favaro

Print catalogues are back.

Over the last twenty years, with the growth of the Internet and of digital means of accessing information, sales catalogues fell out of favour. Cutting down on the printing of catalogues was seen as a way to allocate funds to other, often digital, marketing touchpoints.

However, the trend towards the full digitalisation of sales catalogues recently started to decline. This is due to several factors, including the fact that customers tend to still appreciate more browsing print material than the Internet. This preference might be caused by the tactile and olfactory experiences involved when browsing through paper sheets.

Furthermore, catalogues can often be complementary to a digital browsing experience. They can easily become its starting point; for example, customers may find themselves browsing through the pages of a print catalogue, individuating a potential item to buy — and eventually buying it online.

Printing quality and paper finishes, such as embossing, can also be a way to entice potential customers. The way a sales catalogue is stitched together or folder, its paper stock and its embroideries can all leave a mark on customers, helping them remember the brand in ways that would not be possible with the Internet only.

Companies like IKEA, Marks & Spencer, and John Lewis have been enhancing the length and quality of their catalogues. Others that had fully stopped publishing catalogues are now restarting their distribution.

Despite the rise of digital and social media marketing, print sales collateral is once again key in reaching customers effectively — and will likely remain so.