December 8, 2009, 12:00 AM

Zappos mails a print catalog to drive online sales

E-retailer Zappos.com has mailed out 750,000 copies of “Zappos Life,” a holiday print catalog that focuses on products such as jewelry, clothing and handbags, as well as footwear. Zappos says the catalog affords another way to interact with customers.

Zappos.com has mailed out 750,000 copies of “Zappos Life,” a holiday print catalog that focuses on products such as jewelry, clothing and handbags, as well as footwear. The online retailer sent the catalog, which is also online at http://digital.zapposlife.com/zappos/2009fashion, to retain lapsed customers, as well as to attract new customers.

Customers respond to catalogs in a different way than they do online, says Aaron Magness, director for brand marketing and business development at Zappos, No. 27 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name). “We’re looking to find ways to interact with customers in a setting they’re comfortable with,” says Magness. “When you look at retailers like Williams-Sonoma or Victoria’s Secret, their catalogs drive a different type of interaction. There’s still a segment of people that look forward to flipping through a catalog.”

The catalog brought favorable returns, says Magness. For instance, the average catalog order is more than twice that of the average order online.

The catalog is the third this year from Zappos. The first two catalogs Magness describes as tests-in terms of their distribution, the products featured, as well as their look and feel.

Magness says Zappos plans to send out another catalog to 750,000 consumers next spring.

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