Paper Catalogs Are Still Important to Retail MarketingPaper catalogs influence holiday shopping behavior more than social media, Baynote survey finds

With the rise of eCommerce and the ongoing “green marketing” trends, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing less paper mail than we used to. Yet, paper catalogs still packed our mailboxes this holiday season—and for good reason. Many retailers realize that direct mail is still an important channel for marketing to buyers, as our Third Annual Holiday Survey  recently found.

The survey was fielded by the eTailing Group and surveyed 1,000 shoppers that use tablets and/or smartphones. The results of the survey found that paper catalogues still hold a lot of weight when it comes to influencing holiday purchases. But why?

The paper catalogue offers an aesthetically pleasing way to view a variety of products, provides an experience of sorts and is typically delivered directly to you. In some ways, it creates a more direct interaction with the brand than a social media fan page post or a “pin” might. As a result, the tried-and-true paper catalog is a more powerful influencer when it comes to purchase decisions. According to the survey, paper catalogs influenced twice as many consumers as both Pinterest and Twitter for both in-store and online purchases.

Not surprisingly, however, there is an age bias that correlates to spending power. While younger shoppers aged 24 to 34 use social channels more, shoppers aged 45 and above used catalogs twice as frequently as social channels.

As retailers face more challenges than ever to market to all customer segments across a growing number of sales channels, it is important to remember that optimizing the message, the platform and the delivery method is crucial in marketing efficacy.