As the SMS art department works through the latest updates to a valued customer’s product catalog, we add those same updates to their online e-commerce catalog. Why two places to shop for the same products?

For some, old habits die hard. Experienced engineers, designers and OEM buyers have been reaching to their shelves and drawers to retrieve trusted catalogs for the majority of their careers. And to many, leafing through indexes and scanning pages is the preferred safe, familiar access to information rather than opening a web browser and typing in searches.

Other times it’s about visibility and the nature of our attention spans. Catalogs are attractive promotional pieces that maintain consistent “print-worthy” content, and research suggests that using one leads to greater “paid visits” than online visits. Perhaps that’s because when someone picks up a catalog they “mean business”, and when they peruse the multitude of websites at their fingertips they often find themselves “researching”. Since attention is all too easily diverted to other interests, website visits can put users in a casual window-shopping mindset. 

Comparisons aside, both avenues for sales and information appear essential to marketing mixes for high-tech and industrial manufacturers. Purchasing decisions made through catalog usage spike online interactivity, and the same customers can be reached via both channels. What’s more, it’s true for both B-2-C and B-2-B buyers.

It’s true that catalogs have shrunk in size, often holding only new and evergreen product lines and relegating items like replacements parts for older machines and installations to online sub-menus. But what hasn’t shrunk is their relative importance to customer loyalty and brand familiarity. It is this familiarity that breeds trust, which in turn generates customer loyalty – resulting in ongoing repeated sales on an ongoing basis for both existing and new products and services as they are offered and needed by the customer.

S. Norton
SMS Managing Director

For more info on how you can affordably produce your company’s catalog through our experienced SMS staff, send an email to snorton@smsmktg.com and/or reply in the comments below.

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