From tabletop to desktop: catalogs and the Internet increase the bottom line

It’s a chain reaction for retailers. Plain and simple. Send someone a catalog and he or she is twice as likely to make a purchase at the retailer’s Web site. As BusinessWeek magazine reported recently, “Net shopping isn’t rendering catalogs obsolete. It’s just changing their role.”


In association with comScore Networks Inc., the U.S. Postal Service conducted research about the powerful media combination of mail and the Internet – mail is, after all, the second largest media channel today. Research findings commissioned in 2002, and updated again in 2006, found that online consumers who received a catalog from a retailer were nearly twice as likely to make a purchase at that retailer’s Web site.

In addition, they made 15 percent more transactions than those who did not receive catalogs and their spending was 16 percent higher.


The preliminary findings from the 2006 update have already produced actionable findings on the positive impact of direct mail on online shopping.

Based on the initial data, 47 percent of online retail shoppers used the company’s catalog to assist with their online holiday shopping. Of these, 92 percent feel having the catalog on-hand creates ease with online shopping.

The data also finds that catalogs drive multiple online shopping trips, with 69 percent of online shoppers making multiple visits to a company’s site.

Catalogs, when coupled with Internet shopping, create higher levels of online engagement, thereby deepening relationships with the retailer, introducing customers to more products and increasing brand awareness.


Catalogs play a decisive role in driving recipients who visit the retailer’s Web site to stay and make a purchase.

The purchase rate increase was most dramatic among new consumers – 260 percent higher for catalog recipients versus non-recipients. Among current customers, the purchase rate was an impressive 67 percent higher.


During the first 45 days of the 2006 holiday season, total online retail spending reached $19.48 billion, marking a 25 percent increase versus the corresponding days in 2005, according to a report from comScore.

The updated report on mail and the Internet from the USPS, which was conducted during the fourth quarter of 2006, will be available in April 2007.

From all vantage points, the combination of sending a targeted catalog and creating a robust Web site to receive visitors works better than ever. Visit to learn more.

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