Nano Bits. When Nano Meets Print.

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Monday, 10 October 2016 | By Gerry Mulvaney


The retail shopping experience is undergoing seismic change as a result of pressure from Internet giants such as Amazon and eBay. You can see the effect in shopping malls and supermarkets across the globe. Many of the sites are being closed or slimmed down as consumers use smartphones and tablets to place orders online for delivery to their front doors. A “one size fits all” approach no longer works as the Millennial generation, single-person households and Baby Boomers all have specific needs and wants that need satisfying with a tailored sales and marketing approach.

Retailers are not taking the Internet challenge lying down and many now operate a “click and collect” service using their own websites and store premises, combining this with more traditional marketing methods such as direct mail and catalogues. In fact, catalogues in general are increasingly being exploited by retailers in Europe and the USA as effective ways of targeting their products.

Last year the Harvard Business School produced a report called “Why the Print Catalogue is Back in Style” and drew attention to the fact that retailers find that printed catalogues are a very effective tool in the overall marketing mix of online sales, social media and bricks and mortar stores.

Illustrated statistics re the influence of printed catalogues on purchasing behaviour

The impact of printed catalogues on purchasing behaviour

In the Harvard report, Nordstrom, an upmarket US fashion retailer claimed that their customers, who had a multi-channel relationship with the brand, spent four times as much as those who did not. Online retailer, Bonobos men’s fashion, reported that 20% of their first time customers on their website placed an order after receiving one of their catalogues and actually spent one and a half times more than first time customers who had not received a catalogue.

InfoTrends has also looked at the resurgence of print catalogues and found that 64% of consumers they interviewed regularly read catalogues, 74% reported they used catalogues as a way of finding out more information and 90% said they used catalogues to get ideas about products that interested them.

Big Data and Nanography® Printing Can Create “Killer” Catalogues

One of the reasons for the resurgence of catalogues has been the way that “big data” has become available and is mined by the retailers and brands. Catalogues are no longer a scattergun approach to consumers – I never get a woman’s fashion catalogue sent to me and my wife never gets a “boys toys” selection either. Furthermore, I can see the content sent to each of us is well tailored to our previous shopping history with catalogues being “versioned” to our own preferences and purchasing records.

Illustrated statistics re the influence of customised printed catalogues on purchasing behaviour

The impact of customised catalogues on purchasing behaviour

The trend is not confined to big brands. As data mining becomes more accessible to smaller companies, commercial printers can start to take advantage of new devices, like the B1 (41 in.) format Landa S10P Nanographic Printing® Press, to offer their customers high quality, colour rich, media tactile catalogues with versioning and personalisation options for the first time. Many of those who attended the Drupa 2016 show in Düsseldorf had their eyes opened to this range of new possibilities.

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Landa S10 - Printing Press