The Internet opened a new, versatile channel for remote shopping and spurred a growing trend for consumers to shop and buy online. What role can we expect for paper catalogs and mail order in the near future?
The explosion of media is enabling remote-shopping companies to sell products and services directly to customers with greater reach and efficiency. In particular, the traditional “mail order” industry has been revolutionized by the Internet. As a result, traditional media such as catalogs, direct mail and telephone marketing now compete with and complement e-mail marketing and online shopping services.
The increasingly competitive pressure posed by these expanded remote-shopping alternatives has also forced many traditional retailers to develop online offerings for customers around the clock and around the world. Few major retailers now lack at least some form of online presence, even if it is just to draw store traffic from the profitable segment of customers who have already decided to buy, and are now proactively seeking a place — online or at the retail counter — to finalize their purchase.