December 31, 2011, 12:00 AM

iPad to the Rescue?

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"If a significant portion of tablet owners overlap with your direct mail database, and those consumers want to be green and get this immersive experience, then that is where you'll need to be, and the bonus is a huge print cost savings," Mulpuru says. "A subset of consumers have tablets and many do like to see these catalog apps and that probably will continue for the foreseeable future. The tablet is a great format for delivering catalog content."

When it comes to format, tablets and catalogs are quite similar. And tablets enable consumers to watch videos, place orders and interact in other ways that are not possible with print catalogs. But direct mail is a potent force, and a great many people still love leafing through paper catalogs. The exact future of tablet catalogs is hard to predict. But it does seem they have a future.

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