Three Reasons for E-catalogs

June 10th, 2008

E-catalogs that are navigated with a ‘virtual thumb’ in the turn-the-page sense have been a hot topic among marketers for quite some time. Do they produce sales? Are they worth the effort? What’s the point of an e-catalog when you have ecommerce?

I have searched high and low for a data-based, Sherpa-worthy Case Study on this very subject. The fact is, proving e-catalog activity creates sales with rock-solid data is difficult. Marketers who think they work only want to talk estimates or anecdotally.

But when brands like Office Depot, Hammacher Schlemmer, and UK retailer Kaleidoscope, among others, have been running them for a number of years, you know they must be performing on an important level.

Otto UK’s Head of Ecommerce, Chris Poad, and his team tested them over the holidays for their Kaleidoscope brand. While they aren’t using the Flash-based catalog year-round, because of the success they experienced, they will put up a holiday e-book again this season.

Here are three enlightening things they discovered at during the test.

1. In an A/B split, Poad says they estimate — based on relevant click data — that conversion rates were twice as high for people who viewed the e-catalog versus those who did not. “And, our average percentage of visitors using the e-catalog was in between 15% and 20%.”

2. Before doing the final print run on their paper catalog, they tested pagination on the e-catalog. Then, they tweaked the book according to what they learned on the virtual version. “We definitely feel that it’s a working, [online-to-offline] tactic.”

3. Lastly, he says that average time spends are longer for the e-catalog than the ecommerce site alone. “We believe that higher time spends help our conversions, too.”

Categories: Branding, Channel Marketing, Consumer Marketing, Consumer Packaged Goods, Ecommerce Eretail, Email Marketing, Offline Marketing And Advertising, Online Advertising, Online Marketing Tags: , , , ,

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