January 31, 2003, 12:00 AM

Kill the catalog, kill the business, AMR says

A consumer survey by AMR Research Inc. over the holidays quantifies the importance of catalogs: 30% of customers probably would stop shopping at a retail site if the site stopped sending catalogs.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Online retailers have widely concluded over the past three years that they need catalogs to keep customers shopping at their web sites. A consumer survey by AMR Research Inc. over the holidays quantifies the importance of catalogs: 30% of customers probably would stop shopping at a retail site if the site stopped sending catalogs.

Even the nearly 70% of consumers who will continue shopping online with a retailer that kills its paper catalog will increase their rates of shopping with some form of printed flier, AMR says. “You have to send them something, but not necessarily the big book," says Paula Rosenblum, retail research director at AMR. "If you can send a flier instead of a catalog, you can save a fortune."

The results are in a forthcoming study of the 2002 holiday shopping season which interviewed 427 consumers of which 28% shopped online.

Rosenblum says the study`s results should urge retailers to learn more about what motivates consumers to buy on their site if there is no complementary catalog to routinely pique their interest. "You have to figure out who won`t shop your web site without getting a catalog, and find out what it`ll take to keep them as customers," she says.

AMR based its study on a randomly selected panel of 437 consumers aged 18 and over, of whom 28%, or 128, said they shopped online. The study`s findings related to the impact of catalogs in online shopping were based on those 128 online shoppers.

 

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