Catalog retail may seem quaint and old fashioned in today's high tech retail market, but catalogs have evolved since the days of the five-pound Sears monstrosities of our childhoods. The printed catalog is still alive and well although today's print catalogs are smaller and more consumer specific. Catalog retail is no longer restricted to print versions. Catalogs are also seen online, although perhaps you haven't thought of them as catalogs.
Catalog retailing is a sales technique that allows a retail or wholesale business to group items together in either print copy or in an online store in the hopes that a customer will purchase an item through the catalog. A catalog is simply a grouping of similar items for sale in a space accessible by a target audience. Does that sound familiar? It should. Amazon, the world's largest online retailer is, when broken down to its very basic form, nothing more than an electronic catalog.
Catalog retailing and marketing is an important sales tool for retailers and wholesalers, especially during the holiday season when more people are avoiding busy stores and shopping from the comfort of their homes. Any retailer looking to expand their sales opportunities should consider using catalog retailing.
Online catalogs can save retailers the cost of producing, printing, and distributing hard copies of their catalog, but large retailers still utilize their own print versions. Companies like J. Crew, Williams-Sonoma, and L. L. Bean just to name a few. Online retail catalogs do provide the added bonus of making immediate purchases and using electronic payment methods.
There are two methods of leveraging catalog retail sales. Large retailers may choose to produce their own catalog. The consumer then orders from and pays the retailer directly. These are known as single company catalogs. On the other hand, multiple company catalogs provide an opportunity for smaller retailers with fewer products to reach their target audience.
In the case of multiple company catalogs, the producer of the catalog acts as the middle man between retailers and consumers. In multiple company catalogs, the consumer might see several different companies competing against each other on the same page. Also, with multiple company catalogs, the consumer pays the producer of the catalog, and the retailer receives a portion of that sale. Although the retailer does not receive one hundred percent of the profit, they may not have otherwise been able to reach their target consumer audience due to lack of resources that larger companies enjoy.
Shipping options with multiple company catalogs can vary. Some multiple company catalogs provide shipping options that draw upon inventory from their warehouses while others send orders back to the manufacturer making the manufacturer responsible for fulfilling the customer shipping request.