Woman outside in the sun reading a catalog

Catalog Printing in the Digital Age – Why Are Catalogs Making a Comeback?

September 6, 2022

The far reach of digital media has expanded our opportunities as creators and consumers. But with that ever-increasing information sharing, there is also an emerging renaissance for what can be felt, flipped, and thumbed through — the print catalog. When it comes to going beyond nondescript lists of inventory to make a compelling presentation of your products, there is a resurgence of appreciation for a print catalog. If you have a product with a story to share, a design layout to captivate, or an offer for more, there is a market upswing in customer purchasing when a print catalog is involved.  


In this fifth installment of our six-part series on book, catalog, and magazine printing, we’ll show you how print catalogs are making a comeback! We’ll highlight the newer options and insights inspiring this market rise in catalog printing while sharing the vetted experience that Bestype has in how to print a catalog. Bestype offers premier catalog printing in NYC, and we are here to serve you and your vision.


How Did the Print Catalog Return?

When e-commerce made its mark in the early 2000’s many businesses cut their catalogs, dismissing them as too costly and repositioning their efforts to online marketing. So while the Internet exploded and the opportunity to find everything online grew, actual mail in physical mailboxes dwindled. Interestingly, the deluge of ads and posts online had the effect of sometimes overwhelming the consumer, and overstuffed inboxes only served to amplify millennials’ appreciation for the once lonely mailbox. 


That appreciation extends to those who enjoy the slower pace of finer things. The Harvard Business Review notes that a catalog has a home life of seven days, much longer than digital marketing. According to Consumerist Archives, 31% of shoppers look through a catalog when they complete their purchase online, and 86% of women from ages 18 – 30 bought an item after looking at it in a catalog.


Now, imagine the lasting value of a coffee table piece, thick paper, gloss finish, a sturdy spine displaying an array of your latest photography, or a compilation of your high-end woodworking furniture line. It is beautiful in its own right, and (as the studies are showing) it is growing brand loyalty and increased customer sales. 


Just how lucrative can it be for creatives and marketers to design and print a catalog?According to HBR, a lot. As recently noted, the response rates from catalogs have increased by 170% from 2004 to 2018. This is a sustainable opportunity with a high return for your investment. When you get clear on who your product or service is destined to create a solution or an enjoyment for (a leading factor in catalog sales), you can target ideal communities by geography, profession, or even within potential distribution channels through informed and focused marketing and evaluation of current and potential customer data. 


The numbers are clear. Now, let’s talk about how you do it. 


How to Print a Catalog of Value?

As with any piece of art, the appreciation of the fine details, the layout, the photographic quality, and professional binding are what will draw the attention of the director, retailer, or sophisticated consumer. The return of the print catalog is a declaration of the finer things, the brand narrative, and the beauty you create for your client.


Your print catalog is not an inventory; it is a story. Stories people want to be a part of motivate their actions. Is your landscape a busy city? The countryside? Or a minimalistic shot of your product calculated with light and shadow? Your layout can include quotes, prose, or poetry to accentuate and deepen the brand-based tale. 


Remember, your catalog is a tactile experience, and its design and printing activate the vivid experience of what you are selling — for a fashion line, an apparel pitch, or a luxury destination vacation. People still crave and respond to experience. The average ROI of $1 invested in a mail catalog is between $2 and $4, per AlixPartners. 


Print catalogs occupy a unique space in the customer journey: they are the in-between experience of not a store, but not just an email either. In an online world, catalog printing brings home the reality of what you offer your client, making your presence a part of your customer’s everyday life. 


Contact Bestype for Catalog Design and Printing

Print catalogs fill the gap of the less-frequented in-store experience. Let Bestype, the premier company for catalog printing in NYC, walk you through this process with our in-house team of experts, on-site printers, and extensive experience bringing visions to excellence — in print and profit. Call Bestype today to book your consultation for a free quote on your upcoming project. Our next blog will continue behind the scenes of art in print with the world of zines.

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