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.