With the holidays approaching, retailers have stepped up their marketing efforts, hoping to entice as many people as possible to choose one or more of their products either for themselves or as a gift for a loved one.
Apart from the beautifully decorated shop windows and holiday-centric television advertising, retailers have also increased their promotional mailings. And they haven't restricted this to emails. In the past weeks, my mailbox has been crammed with catalogs trying to guide me in my pre-holiday shopping sprees.
Some of these retailers are wasting their money sending me expensive print materials since I'm unlikely to do business with them again. For example, last year I bought my niece a gift for her dog from a particular pet store. Since then, I have not visited the website once, but somehow I've made it on this retailer's mailing list and receive a catalog every couple of weeks. Most times, the catalog--and quite a few others--doesn't even make it into my apartment since I go through my mail in the elevator and throw out what I don't consider relevant.
But other retailers are doing a good job of getting into my home and showcasing their products, helping me select my next purchase. One might argue that an email would have worked just as well, and saved the company printing and mailing costs. However, there's a greater chance that I look through a catalog than opening an email.
And retailers are getting very savvy in their mailings. Bloomingdales recently sent me an envelope with a handful of booklets, each carrying a particular selection of items that would make ideal gifts for different people, for example the tech geek or someone who likes sparkle. This way, rather than look through a thick catalog, I was able to select the one that was most relevant to me.
Unfortunately, the catalogs that I've seen have been missing an important feature that would make shopping easier for customers--QR codes that link directly to the page where customers can get more information about that particular item and even make a purchase. Although most items featured in catalogs have a Web ID that can be used to find that item, it is much easier for today's smartphone-savvy customers to scan a code and be directed to the page.
In the end, customers will do business with those organizations that provide the best experience and make it easy to do business. Including QR codes in catalogs is an easy solution to simplifying the customers' buying journeys and increase the likelihood of them buying what they've seen on a printed page.