Integrate Social Media Into Your Catalog (and make a tree happier)

If a catalog is received in the mail and never read, was it ever really sent? Catalogs are what trees dream about at night. Bad Dreams. Nightmares. I should know, since I lead IKEA’s U.S. catalog group a while ago my job was to lead a team to help distribute more catalogs at a lower cost that was read by more furniture liberals! Yes, we were trying to save trees and implement a sustainable sourcing strategy. The business challenge was that we would print 25 million catalogs, mail them over the course of several weeks and on delivery day, half of them were thrown out! What does this traditional marketing lament have to do with digital or social media? Well, if a brand expertly integrates digitmedia’s social media into their catalog, then 5 things happen:

  1. Purchase Experience. Mobile apps can be promoted to drive a purchase experience that is authentic and customized
  2. Augmented Product. Mobile apps can use used as part of the augmented product
  3. Product Use Ideas. Social media, like Pinterest, which has overtaken Facebook as the leading ecommerce platform, can show real-time product updates and authentic crowd-sourced ideas to help spur sales
  4. Customer Service. Social media can facilitate a 24-7 pre- or post-purchase customer-service experience on the customer’s terms
  5. Loyalty & Advocacy. Social media can facilitate a brand’s community that could impact loyalty, advocacy and purchase behavior!

If a catalog do this heavy lifting, then it can become more powerful and smaller! And, increase the ROI!

As an example, this visual of a recnet Crate&Barrel catalog does a nice job of most of these three points! What I like about this catalogs integration of digital and social media is:


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How Crate&Barrel Uses Their Catalog To Expand The Customer Experience With Digital And Social Media Call-outs

  • Clearly articulated and free Apple App Store apps to help make the C&B experience rich with recipes and cocktail ideas with which the catalog products can be used
  • Communicate the free gift of music to further help add to the spirit of the holidays
  • Community call-out to get together on Facebook. No guessing whether to include the ampersand as part of the Facebook URL
  • Simple call out to follow C&B on Twitter

This a catalog could work a little harder in two ways:

  • Pinterest. Since Crate&Barrel is such a visual company, makes sense that Pinterest is front and center with a call to action to pin! C&B is a Pinteresting brand!
  • Customer Service. I would like to see a customer service call-out promoting Twitter’s role in this experience. If I can place an order 24 hours a data, then it makes sense to be able to connect with services!

Great job by Crate&Barrel with lightening the dreamload of contributing tree population. I think they do a great job of making their catalog work as hard as possible adding to the overall customer experience by integrating digital and social media components!

In particular, small businesses need to pay attention to how the big brands like Crate&Barrel market themselves and understand how to get one step ahead of them to stay relevant to a fickle customer base.

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