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While some view the printed catalog as a dinosaur lumbering quietly into extinction, retailers have reinvented the catalog shopping experience to amplify their overall sales strategy.

NewPoint Media Group, publishers of The Real Estate Book, Mature Living Choices, Senior Living Choices, New Homes & Ideas, New Home Journal, and New Home Finder, among other titles, recently launched a “Catalog Challenge” to illuminate retailers’ embrace of the printed catalog as a vital component in their overall marketing strategy this holiday season.

Deborah A Di Memmo, a REALTOR® and Notary Public from Murrieta, CA submitted over 1500 catalog covers from a large variety of retailers to win the prize. The contest was launched in November and concluded in January. Participants gathered catalog covers and mailed them in. Covers could be from the same retailer, but not the same edition.

“The impact of a printed catalog should not be minimized,” says Scott Dixon, CEO of NewPoint. “There are traits that are inherent to this type of media and this type of advertising that are not viable through other media. For example, the quality of the printed piece adds credibility to the brand. The tactical presence of the page evokes a sensory and emotional connection to the brand and the interruptive nature intersects with a consumer – in their mailbox, on a countertop, or in a rack on the street – without them having to search for it.”

The Direct Marketing Association estimates that 12.5 billion print catalogs are mailed each year and new interactive features such as QR codes, text codes, and augmented reality have redefined the catalog shopping experience.

“We’ve always known that one of the top ways to drive traffic to a website was to advertise that site offline. You see it everywhere. Now, the offline and online lines are blurred. It’s about the total engagement in the brand – whether that’s in print, on a website, a social network, or a mobile app,” Dixon adds. “Consumers really expect to be able to interact with a brand through their means of choice – not ours. Online retailers such as Zappos and Amazon are learning what traditional brick and mortar retailers like J. Crew, Pottery Barn, and Macy’s already knew.”

“People shop catalogs. As a child, did you ever dream through the holiday catalogs, turning down pages, circling items, and making detailed lists based on your extensive research?” Dixon asks. “We still do that today – and then go online or in to the store to buy. Some online only retailers estimate that almost half of their online sales come from catalog shoppers. ”

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