Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
It seems like everyone’s into “On Demand” these days.
We have movies on demand, books on demand, and music on demand. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the “on demand” movement has started to reach into the world of catalog marketing. Companies are testing the waters with customer-print, customer-defined and electronic catalogs.
If you’re not sure if an on-demand model would work for your business, take a look at these ten catalog on demand uses and benefits.
10. Reduce costs
With the ever increasing costs of catalog printing and mailing, going to an on-demand system knocks most of those expenses down to near zero. No mailing, and customers print their own when and where they choose.
Of course, you still have the content development and maintenence costs, but that’s typically a small fraction of the print-and-mail catalog expenses. Your bottom line will love it!
9. Create updates
What happens when a half dozen of the items in your just-mailed catalog go out of stock? Or if the manufacturer changes some critical elements?
With a paper catalog, you can either wait until your next catalog to make the changes, create and mail out something to let customers know, or field the calls from annoyed shoppers when the items in the catalog aren’t available as shown.
With a catalog on demand stored on the cloud, you can simply go into the backend and make the changes. Instantly, everything is accurate again, and your costs were a few minutes on a computer.
8. Customize content
With an online catalog on demand, you have the opportunity to provide shoppers with a catalog tailored to their needs. Imagine a clothing catalog for your long time size 12 shopper that features clothing in her size, shows models in her size, and skips over those environment shots of stick-thin models in a beach volleyball game.
Or a catalog on demand for gardeners, that features the plants that grow in their region…no need to drool over palm trees in Minnesota!
Of course, you could also give them an option to view and print the whole catalog, bikinis and palm trees included. But I suspect most people would be happy with their very own custom version!
7. Customize currency
For catalogs with international shoppers, using catalogs on demand allows them to offer all prices in local currency without having to print separate catalogs for each location. The same goes for sales tax rates and VAT…all set by location, no searching or converting required.
6. Allow customers to build their own catalog
Remember all those Sears specialty catalogs that used to be around? The tool catalogs, the “Big and Tall” catalog, and of course, their wonderful Christmas Wish Book toy catalog. Few stores can afford that kind of specialized print catalog marketing these days.
Moving to catalogs on demand is a great way to allow customers to create their own catalog from your product selection, then just download or print what they want. You could provide the options, or let them define their own. Either way, they get the catalog they need, and you get to avoid printing dozens of niche catalogs every year.
5. Real time images
A catalog on demand can also allow you to provide real time images to match seasons, locations, searches or customer history. You can even customize by life cycle events like weddings or new babies. Try to do that with a traditional paper catalog!
4. Less production time
I’ve worked in catalog marketing businesses, so I’ve seen the amount of people hours and machine hours that go into producing print catalogs. And with each launch, the whole process starts again, essentially from scratch and ending with everyone exhausted and fried when it finally drops.
With on demand catalogs, you can skip the cycle of launch and drop. Instead, your staff can focus on refining, revising, improving and updating an existing on-demand catalog core.
3. Looking green
It’s a plus to be able to talk about your company’s green initiatives. And this fits perfectly into that trend. No wasted catalogs printed and tossed. None mailed and left in the dead leatter office because of bad addresses or expired forwarding. No delivery costs which saves fuel and reduces your carbon footprint.
And best of all, the customer who prints your catalog is probably only going to print the parts they need to use. Yes, this is making you look good! And Mother Earth says thanks!
2. Less customer clutter for B2B customers
With everyone company and department’s budget on the chopping block, office space has shrunk, too. That means big catalogs that take up even bigger shelving isn’t the ideal. But an online, on-demand catalog, or even a back-up on a disc means little or no storage space needed. But they’re still available whenever it’s time to place an order.
1. Easy to share
One of hallmarks of a successful e-commerce project is the number of shares. Sharing a catalog on demand can be as easy as clicking on a link and adding an e-mail address. That means your customer can share it with their sister on the other side of the country, or their son in Arizona — and you don’t have to mail out a thing to make it happen!
Now how cool is that? And there’s yet another plus with this … if you build the share capability into your site, you get to capture another e-mail address for your future marketing campaigns. Love it, right?