The Office Times

Traditional catalogues becoming obsolete

In response to the rapidly evolving business market, United Stationers has released a new white paper, “Leader Of The Pack: Digital Replaces Full-line Catalog,” revealing the printed full-line catalogue traditionally distributed by resellers is losing its popularity to digital marketing efforts.

In response, the US wholesaler says that resellers must adjust their strategies to match customers’ preferences, as 71 per cent of customer orders now take place online. The report revealed customers turn to printed full-line catalogues primarily for inspiration, but ultimately go online to research product information, compare prices and access convenient ordering systems.

“Over time, digital and online tools have evolved to play a central role in the research and purchasing process for the majority of purchasers,” says Owen Carr, Consumer Research Marketing Manager at United Stationers. “As a result, resellers must focus on digital marketing first, and print second when closing the office products deal.”

The research represents a reversal in business-to-business buying trends as resellers have succeeded in the past by distributing full-line catalogues to provide customers with product information – while also using the catalogue as a marketing tool.

Key findings from the report reveal that approximately 42 per cent of reseller customers believe these large (full-line) office products catalogues are a waste of paper, and 81 per cent say these catalogues do not play a major role in their purchase of products for use in the workplace. However, the report does reveal that smaller print marketing pieces, such as flyers and catalogues that focus on one category, are on the rise and can serve the purpose of communicating with customers without the costs and waste associated with full-line catalogs.

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