Retailers are continuing to turn to catalogs to help their products stand out in a cluttered marketplace.
More than 12.5 billion catalogs are mailed annually, according to the Direct Marketing Association. The numbers could rise as companies like J.C. Penney revive their mailings and others enter the catalog business.
For example, upscale clothier Marine Layer mailed its first catalog to about 150,000 consumers last month.
“It’s a great way to display our lifestyle and tell our story better,” Michael Natenshon, Marine Layer’s founder, told the Daily Beast.
Longtime catalog publishers are revamping their mailings to make them more like magazines. Some department stores are hiring fashion photographers to shoot their catalogs, while furniture retailers are offering decorating ideas alongside their products.
“It’s very much about the … lifestyle and the connection to the brand,” industry analyst Bridget Johns told the Daily Beast.
Although some retailers see catalogs as vehicles to drive consumers to their websites, Natenshon said the mailings offer consumers something they can’t get online.
“[I]t’s actually refreshing to have something that’s not on your computer to look through,” he said.