Several factors are shaping the future of printed catalogs, including technological advances, environmental concerns and changes in consumer behavior.
Nousmedis, a company specialized in automated catalog production, we would like to share some considerations and also point out what we believe will be the market trends of catalog publishing in the short and medium term.
8 thoughts on the future of printed catalogs
Boom in the creation of specialized catalogs: In the changing marketing landscape, segmentation and personalization have become of paramount importance. In this context, printed catalogs are no exception. While mass distribution of catalogs may be experiencing a decline in popularity, there is a noticeable trend towards the production and distribution of catalogs targeted to specific niches or particular interest groups. These catalogs are designed to meet the specific needs and tastes of a particular market segment, making them more relevant and attractive to that group.
For example, a clothing store might produce different versions of its catalog for teens, adults and seniors, highlighting the products and styles that are most relevant to each group. Similarly, a gardening company might have specialized catalogs for novice gardeners, experts, or those interested in sustainable gardening.
The advantage of these specialized catalogs is that they allow companies to communicate in a more direct and personalized way with their customers, increasing the possibility of conversions and strengthening brand loyalty. In addition, by focusing on a specific audience, companies can reduce costs by not printing and distributing catalogs to those who are not interested in their products or services.
Enriched Digital Versions: The digital era has transformed the way people interact with content. Print catalogs, traditionally viewed as static media, are evolving to incorporate digital elements, creating a rich, hybrid user experience.
One of the most common additions is the use of QR codes. These codes, when scanned with a mobile device, can direct users to websites, promotional videos, product reviews, or even allow them to make direct online purchases. For example, an electronics catalog could include QR codes next to each product that, when scanned, show a video tutorial on how to use the product.
3. More personalized catalogs: In a world saturated with information and advertising, personalization has become a crucial tool to capture the consumer’s attention. Thanks to data analytics and machine learning, companies can now tailor their catalogs to individual consumer preferences and behaviors. This goes beyond simply including the customer’s name; it can refer to displaying products based on past purchases, suggestions based on browsing histories, or even editorial content tailored to the reader’s interests.
4. Shorter and more frequent print runs: The fast pace of today’s world and the constant renewal of products and trends have led companies to rethink the periodicity and size of their catalogs. Instead of large seasonal volumes, brands are opting for more compact editions, but with more frequent releases. This allows consumers to be kept informed of new developments on a regular and constant basis.
5. The catalog as a brand experience: Catalogs are no longer simple product listings. They are becoming branded magazines, focused on conveying an experience and lifestyle associated with the brand. Through stories, articles and high quality photographs, the catalogs seek to create an emotional connection with the reader, transforming the activity of shopping into an immersive experience.
6. Decline of indiscriminate catalog distribution: The rise of digital marketing and sustainability objectives have led many companies to reconsider the mass distribution of catalogs. Instead of sending catalogs to large mailing lists, companies are opting for subscription or targeted distribution systems, where only those who have shown real interest receive the catalog. The link between the company and the customer is thus strengthened, and the catalog is presented as a product of quality and loyalty.
7. The catalog as an exclusive product: In the premium segment, printed catalogs are becoming collector’s items. These editions, with high quality materials, impeccable design and exclusive content, seek to reflect the exclusivity and prestige of the brand. It is not uncommon for these luxury catalogs to come with special finishes, handcrafted bindings or even delivered in specially designed boxes.
8. Potential resurgence of the printed catalog: Like other traditional media, such as vinyl records, printed catalogs may experience a renaissance. In a world dominated by digital, many consumers are looking to return to more authentic and tangible experiences. Print catalogs, with their ability to offer a multi-sensory experience, can find a special place in the hearts of these consumers.
Although the role of printed catalogs is evolving rapidly due to technological and social changes, among others, we do not expect them to disappear in the short to medium term. Instead, they are being reimagined and repurposed to suit the needs and preferences of the modern consumer. They remain an essential tool for many companies, especially when used creatively and strategically in conjunction with digital tools and channels.
Therefore, it is important, now more than ever, to optimize the production of catalogs to enable:
- Savings in production costs
- Enabling the creation of more up-to-date catalogs with fewer errors
- Produce different versions of our catalogs, with specific products aimed at different customer segments.
- Reuse content
- Homogenize the brand image
Using a tool for product information management (such as the PIM Sales Layer) and an InDesign plug-in for automated catalog creation (EasyCatalog) we can drastically reduce the cost and production time of a catalog and at the same time keep the content free of errors – up to practically 0%. By adopting tools that allow us to centralize the management of product information, we can reuse it to enrich – with more detailed information, more complete feature lists or multiple alternative images – the digital version of our catalog and publish it, through the use of channels, on other platforms in a synchronized manner.