May 27, 2010, 6:33 PM

Macy’s brings its summer catalog to the iPad

Macy's launched a special version of its Fashion Book for the iPad.

Lead Photo

A Macy's spread in digital magazines

Knowing that many of its shoppers want fashion advice in digital form, Macy’s Inc. is providing its 60-page summer catalog in a two-page ad spread that appears in the digital editions of 20 women’s magazines, using Flash and digitization technology from Zinio. Since Apple devices don’t render Flash, Zinio came up with a special version for the iPad.

“There’s a strong group of our core customers that definitely want to be communicated to in a digital environment,” says Martine Reardon, executive vice president of marketing and advertising at Macy’s, No. 20 in the <a href="">Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide</a>. “We took it upon ourselves to say, ‘Let’s play with the iPad.’”

The iPad version of Macy’s Summer Fashion Book is a slide show consumers can click through to view best-selling items from the 2010 summer catalog. Zinio, which specializes in digitizing the content of print publications, says Macy’s is the first to use its service to offer an electronic catalog tailored to the iPad, Apple Inc.’s new tablet computer.

In both the iPad version and the version for personal computers and other devices that run Adobe’s Flash technology, the Macy’s catalog appears within a two-page ad in the June issues of 20 women’s magazines, including Redbook, Seventeen, Country Living and Elle Décor. When consumers view the ad on Flash-enabled devices, they can flip through the 60-page catalog by clicking on arrows to advance from one page to the next. They can also enter search terms and zoom in on products.

What’s common to both the iPad and PC versions of the Macy’s catalog is that if a consumer clicks on an item she goes directly to the checkout page at where she can complete the purchase.

The print circulation of the 20 magazines exceeds 13 million. Zinio expects a couple of hundred thousand consumers are likely to engage with the Macy’s ad in the digital versions of the magazines, says Jeanniey Mullen, chief marketing officer at Zinio.

At a time when retailers are cutting back on paper catalogs to save printing and mailing costs, Mullen says digital catalogs like Macy’s provide added exposure to consumers who read magazines in electronic formats. She says Zinio charges by number of impressions, or views of an ad, similar to the pricing model for print ads.

In addition to appearing in the digital magazines, the Flash version of the Macy’s summer catalog can be viewed at the site, and Macy’s can put it on its own site, Mullen says.

Macy’s Reardon says saving the cost of printing catalogs is a plus, but that the primary driver is Macy’s desire to test new ways of reaching consumers through electronic versions of magazines. “As the digital space has grown exponentially over the last couple of years, there are so many consumers wanting information in a digital environment. That was the real driver for this,” Reardon says. “Then, well, if you can deliver catalogs to millions of more people, why not? It’s an easy decision.”

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