Lesson Learned?

Many of us have heard the story before — print is an essential partner for online transactions, but the word is not getting around to senior managers.

Time and time again we hear the stories of retailers eliminating their catalogs in order to reduce costs (and sometime to improve their “green” color) and then watch their sales drop.  The latest was JC Penney.  Their decision to stop printing their catalog may have cost them $400 million in sales per a recent “Dallas Morning News” article.  Per the article, they did not realize that shoppers were using the catalog to help them shop online.

Many marketers have become enamoured with mobile and social media and thus assume that print is “so last century,” and it is no longer effective.  They don’t realize buyers are not a homogeneous mix and must be reached through a variety of channels — including print.   JC Penny’s decision to exit catalog sales may have made sense in saving short-term dollars — but in the long-term, may have had been very damaging.  Time will tell.


One thought on “Lesson Learned?

  1. Joe, another solid post. I’ve argued this point with our Promotional Product factories. One of my favorites over the past 10 years has been Leed’s. 2 years ago a new rep of theirs stopped in for a short presentation of new items. He started off by sharing the new eco line and then shared two catalogs with us and said “that will be it for the year. We’ve cut back on our catalogs as another means to save our earth”. While he was packing up, I asked if he had a minute and gave him a tour of our print facility. Quite entertaining. My point is, that year’s sales for Leed’s merchandise dropped drastically, not only from Odee, but nationwide. They admitted their mistake and are now back to printing enough catalogs to service demand.


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