Putting Your Brand in the Hands of Your Customers

Royal Mail Blog Featured Image

Putting Your Brand in the Hands of Your Customers

Royal Mail Market Research Growing your business with Catalogues

Reading a catalogue on the sofa

It is approaching 400 years since the first sales catalogue was published in the UK. Since then, catalogue design and production has become an important part of many companies marketing mix. Clearly despite being one of the oldest forms of marketing, catalogue production is still a powerful way of getting your products in front of your customers.


Historically companies that give their customers catalogues had to back this up with expensive call centres, but these days catalogues direct customers to companies’ websites. 

Every company involved in catalogue production now has a fully functioning website. But this is also working in reverse and companies that began with just a website are now becoming involved in catalogue design. Clearly catalogue production works hand in hand with websites to drive customers online. Recent research by Royal mail found that:

Royal Mail Van
Image by Shawn Michael715 via http://www.shutterstock.com

73%  of customers performed an action when a catalogue was delivered
52%  say they buy more than they intended when using a printed catalogue
49%  link to the sender’s website go on to make purchases

The second point above has been established as a major benefit to companies that use catalogue design as a sales tool. Basically, when people visit a website to purchase products, they tend to go direct to the range of items they are looking for. But when they are using a printed catalogue, they will also browse other items that often lead to impulse purchases.

Catalogue production is particularly prevalent in the business-to-business sector. Once a catalogue has been delivered to a customer you have the equivalent of a salesperson on their shelf 24/7.

Businesses can also use catalogue design as an advanced form of content marketing. The catalogue can be filled with demonstrations, clear product images, endorsements and reviews. Customers can browse at their leisure at a time that suits them.

Reading a catalogue sat on the sofa

A good catalogue designer can create pages that are unobtrusive compared with other forms of advertising. Your customers can look through them whenever they want and for many people they act as a source of inspiration. If the catalogue design is done with flair, you tend to find customers eagerly await the next edition. They find the process of flicking through a catalogue an enjoyable experience, which will generally lead to a purchase.

Shopping online or in a retail or business store can create a choice overload. In contrast, browsing a catalogue can be done at your leisure. Catalogues are quicker to look through and can present variations in size, colour or features all in one go. They can also provide the customer with diagrams, illustrations and photographs. These can give the customer the visual cues they need to make the final decision to proceed with their purchase.


63% said they find it easier to browse a printed catalogue than a website or in a shop
75% say catalogues give them ideas of things they did not know about that they then purchase

The research also goes deeper and has established that material you can pick up and touch like a catalogue, leaves a deeper impression on the brain. The texture, feel and physical form of a catalogue appeals to your senses. This results in a level of engagement a website cannot match.

Therefore, if your catalogue design is engaging it will leave memories that lead to positive brand association. In the digitally saturated world we live in today, catalogue production is an effective method of grabbing and retaining customers and building an emotional connection.

Catalogue production has been proven to developing top of mind awareness. When customers research a purchase, they can generally choose between several suppliers. These may have similar products or services. Therefore, creating brand awareness is a key factor in both retaining customers and reactivating lapsed customers. And of course, converting enquirers into new customers.

Catalogue production can help here too. Business to business customers keep catalogues in their office, just like business to consumer customers will keep a well-designed catalogue on their coffee table. They can browse them at their leisure, write in them, put them down and go back to them another time. They can share them with colleagues and friends. The research has established 86% of people in their survey stated that they retain catalogues. This indicates that rather than a one-off purchase, a catalogue can be referred back to time and time again, creating additional business for the company that has sent the catalogue.

Colleagues looking at a catalogue

Catalogue producers aim to create a shop window in their customer’s homes or offices. As the online world gets more competitive, with retailers cutting margins to compete on platforms such as Amazon, a catalogue has been proven to be more than just price led. Customers that receive a catalogue have been proven to be less likely to spend time comparing prices as they would with online websites.

Back to News

For some of our latest projects, please follow us on: