PhotoWorks Tries Catalog to Boost Order Size

PhotoWorks sent its first catalog in June with a drop of nearly 1 million books to its house file.

The Seattle-based film processing company, formerly known as Seattle FilmWorks, expects the catalog to increase its average order size from the current level of $25 by allowing customers to see more of its accessories, which previously were available only in its retail stores.

Accessories include frames, photo albums and disposable cameras. In addition, six pages are devoted to items that can be personalized with photos, including T-shirts, plates, jigsaw puzzles, mugs and mouse pads.

“The catalog is a simple way of conveying all the products and services we sell, and we'll be looking at how it [is received],” said Howard Lee, president/CEO of PhotoWorks. “It's a test, but it replaces some of the marketing tools we've used. We still have a direct mail package and insert program, but the catalog mixes up the variety of what we do.”

The 32-page color catalog measures 8 inches by 5 inches. It cost less than 50 cents per book to produce.

The company serves more than 1.2 million customers a year and processes more than 5 million rolls of film a year, most of which are delivered by mail.

Although it is too early to gauge customers' reaction to the catalog, Lee said the company is looking at expanding its merchandise selection as well as increasing its circulation in the near future.

PhotoWorks' demographics include families with young children and avid travelers with incomes of more than $60,000 annually. The median age is 38.

Since this is the company's entry into catalogs, Lee said he wanted to provide consumers with plenty of information on the services provided. The first seven pages of the catalog are devoted entirely to service offerings, including processing options, information on digital processing and preserving pictures on disks.

On the bottom of those pages is a directive for customers to send their film or preloaded camera to be processed using a specialty envelope provided.

The catalog's cover features pictures of a young child and of a tropical destination, an obvious appeal to PhotoWorks' demographics, Lee said.

Customers can order using an order form included in the catalog, a toll-free number or the company's Web site, The bottom of all even-numbered pages lists the toll-free number and Web address.

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