The Internet was supposed to herald in an age of paperless offices, online browsing and tree-untroubling electronic mail, but it seems that when it comes to flogging goods, the trusty old print catalogue still rules the roost.
According to new research from the Royal Mail, online retailers will be looking to stuff your letterbox full of paper catalogues before Christmas in an attempt to drive up sales over the festive season.
In a survey conducted by the Royal Mail, more than 20 online traders – including big names like John Lewis Direct and Firebox.com – were asked about their marketing strategies.
The survey found that old fashioned catalogues remain one of the most effective promotional channels for generating online orders, with 60% of survey respondents currently licking stamps on catalogues and brochures to be sent to customers in an attempt to increase online sales.
Of course, the Royal Mail has something of a vested interest in promoting these figures, but we have to admit that we always prefer to flick through a glossy print catalogue than stare at a screen. And, of course, it’s a bit trickier to take a laptop to the loo for a bit of furtive, at-work browsing for gifts.
The Royal Mail also found that some 36% of consumers agreed that having an online catalogue makes them more likely to purchase something from a retailer’s website.
Additionally, the survey revealed that 55% of retailers planned to follow the annoying trend set by High Street stores and “extend” the Christmas buying period by encouraging consumers to buy earlier (If only we could “extend” the Christmas holiday period too).
Record earnings are predicted for online retailers this year, with UK shoppers leading their European counterparts when it comes to online shopping.
Around 80% of consumers are expected to buy at least a quarter of their Christmas purchases online this year – up a mighty 15% over last year.