A single-product business may find it easier to advertise or market its product. In fact, even if a brand is selling two or three products, marketing will be a little easier because the think tank will have to focus on one product or service.
On the contrary, what if a business is selling multiple products of different types? What if a retailer sells spare parts for motorbikes? Is it possible to advertise every single item separately? Honestly, it would consume a lot of marketing budget. So what is the alternative for such businesses? Well, there are other options, but catalogue marketing is a common practice for these types of companies. Ever heard of this term before? Let’s find out what is it.
What Is Catalogue Marketing?
Catalogue marketing, in simplest words, is a way of selling your products with the help of catalogues. The company makes a list of every item it sells and expects the buyers to buy their desired product(s) from the list. The list may be in paper form or digital (on an online platform).
Catalogue Marketing- How It Works?
A company following catalogue marketing practice makes their catalogue and mentions the contact method such as an email address, contact number, or a physical address. The catalogue recipient then places the order by using any of the given contact methods.
Catalogue marketing generally works in two different ways;
- Sellers make their own catalogue and invite the buyer to buy directly from them.
- Catalogue marketers act as intermediaries between the manufacturers and the buyers.
How Did Catalogue Marketing Gain Growth?
The history of catalogue marketing/sales dates back to the 17th century when Benjamin Franklin offered a catalogue of books in 1744. Later, the Orvis Fishing catalogue started in 1856, and it is still in circulation (which makes it America’s oldest catalogue).
Catalogue marketing became a growing sales practice due to changing customer preferences. Consumers were more open to direct and catalogue marketing as it would bring so many options for them to choose from.
Apart from that, catalogue marketing gained prominence in B2B markets because it is a more cost-effective option in comparison to personal sales calls.
Catalogue marketing is a form of direct marketing, and it allows companies to target a specific group of customers (targeted marketing). This allows businesses to target their potential customers in a better way and has a higher acceptance among customers as well.
Types of Catalogue Marketing with Examples
Generally, there are 4 different types of catalogue marketing and here is a brief explanation of them.
Single company catalogue
Single company catalogues are pretty common in businesses that manufacture multiple products. Generally, these types of brands make their own catalogues. Common examples of such companies or manufacturers include health products, sports products, apparel, footwear, jewellery, kitchen accessories, cosmetics, etc.
Generally, sellers prepare their catalogues in different ways, such as;
- Categorizing similar or related products: Let’ say a cosmetics company sells different products and offer different types of mascaras, nail paints, lipsticks, etc. The company will place all types of mascaras under one name/head; nail paints and lipsticks will be mentioned in different sections. Or, if there are any discount offers, the company will prepare the catalogue accordingly.
- The seller may also make a catalogue and mention the products in a scattered manner on different pages. This technique is useful for boosting impulse shopping.
In print catalogues, the seller generally makes a cover as an announcement for the types of items or products in the catalogue and then mentions the items for sale. These catalogues contain product images, prices, and descriptions. The seller also mentions the contact method or ordering information.
A print catalogue may feature a single category of the same types of products, such as footwear, clothing, etc. Or it may contain different types of product categories. Some sellers also attach order forms and return envelopes (postage already paid) with print catalogues. Apart from that, buyers may place orders via phone calls.
The print catalogue can be an expensive sales practice, and that is why the marketers use targeted mailing lists to reduce the circulation and printing costs and increase sales. Print catalogue may sound like an old marketing practice to you, but it is becoming popular again since 2015, says Harvard Business Review.
Multiple Companies Catalogue
Multiple companies’ catalogues, as the name suggests, mention products from different companies in the same catalogue. This sales practice involves intermediaries and is very useful for businesses offering fewer products. It helps different companies to reduce their marketing cost and enjoy the benefits of catalogue marketing as well.
Retailers or intermediaries distribute the catalogues to the end consumers. Moreover, multiple companies catalogue is also a preferred choice of customers because they have multiple options (same type of products from different sellers) to choose from.
When the buyer places the order, the purchase process takes place in two possible ways;
- The mediator buys the product from the manufacturer and sells it to the customers.
- The manufacturer sells directly to the buyer, an d the intermediary earns through commission.
Online catalogs are just like print catalogues, but they are actually digital catalogues. The catalogue producer uses an online platform to make its catalogue available to customers. Online catalogues are the latest addition in catalogue marketing, and they have multiple advantages for sellers and buyers, such as;
- An online catalogue is a cost-effective option for sellers (it saves the printing and mailing cost).
- The seller can easily update information on online catalogues.
- Buyers can buy the desired product immediately.
eCommerce is the best example of online catalogue marketing. For instance, different brands such as Flipkart, Etsy, Amazon, etc., provide online catalogues. The buyers can view multiple products and then make a purchase immediately.
Advantages Of Catalogue Marketing
Catalogue marketing helps the businesses and customers in different ways; such as
- Catalogues have a higher acceptance in customers, and they consider catalogues as a trusted source of information. In fact, print catalogues are easier to keep for a longer period (future purchases).
- It is a cost-effective option for businesses. For instance, if a small business cannot afford to launch its own catalogue marketing campaign, it can use multiple companies catalogue option to reduce costs. Apart from that, online catalogues are also a cost-friendly option.
- Catalogue marketing yields higher ROI. Studies have shown that 8 out of 10 buyers are converted with the help of catalogue marketing.
- Rather than waiting for customers to come to your store, catalogues allow you to meet them at their doorsteps. This way, they know what they want to buy.
- It is a safer option in terms of funds security. Generally, customers have to pay in advance while making their orders. This means your money won’t get stuck.
- A business can easily target a specific group of customers with the help of catalogue marketing.
- Customers can have a good look at products, their features, prices, specifications, etc., before making a decision.
Disadvantages Of Catalogue Marketing
- Catalogue marketing can be a slow process when it comes to growth. You have to win your customers trust, and it takes time.
- You need excellent copywriting skills to make a catalogue work because it is not easy to persuade people when there is so much competition. Besides, a poorly crafted catalogue can demolish your brand reputation easily.
- Catalogue marketing is not a suitable option for those customers who prefer a physical experience before buying a product.