Argos has announced plans to scale back its printed catalogue in favour of a move to a more digitally focused business in an attempt to attract more affluent customers.
The print run of the twice-yearly Argos catalogue, which shrunk from 20m to 16m in the last three years, will continue to be cut. Argos plans to focus on making it more “inspirational”, experimenting with new formats in 2013.
Earlier in the year we published results from a YouGov Report, which indicated that shopping catalogues remain a firm favourite for UK consumers. Just over a quarter ordered an item direct from a company after browsing a printed catalogue in the last 12 months. In the same period, 13% of consumers ordered an item from an agent having browsed a printed catalogue delivered to their home.
Argos was shown to be dominant in the catalogue shopping category, with 58% of respondents saying they had an Argos catalogue at home. Competitors Tesco Direct, Next and Littlewoods were trailing behind in terms of coverage, reaching 27%, 11% and 6% of UK homes respectively.
Our research showed that over a quarter of those who buy from shopping catalogues use three channels to complete their purchase – using their catalogue to browse, going online to order and visiting their local store for collection. Almost eight out of ten (77%) internet users who buy from shopping catalogues go on to order catalogue products via the internet for direct home delivery. Meanwhile, over a quarter (27%) has ordered catalogue products over the internet to be delivered to a local store.
In a world where online shopping continues to grow unabated, the key issue for retailers still using printed catalogues is whether continued investment in this channel is warranted - retailers have to think in cross-channel as well as multi-channel ways in order to satisfy shopper needs.
Our report highlights the newly evolved role of the catalogue, moving from its original mail-order purpose to one that sees it act as a catalyst for online sales. The results of our study show that even in an online retail world, consumers clearly still enjoy the ritual of leafing through a glossy printed catalogue – savvy retailers will recognise this and capitalise on the complementary nature of catalogue and online shopping.