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Forum Moderators: buckworks
No where on this site does it say I have a catalog, produce a catalog, mail a catalog or that you can request a catalog. And yet, daily now, I am getting catalog requests. They leave them on my message board. They email them. And several even snail mail. Not "Do you have a catalog?" but "Send me your catalog."
Why do so many people just assume I have a catalog? I know that 90% of the websites I shop on do not have catalogs. Do these same people request catalogs from say, Amazon?
They still emailed or called for a printed catalog.
I put up a FAQ section above the contact email address stating "Because of the ever changing number of products it is not possible for us to provide a printed catalog".
That dropped the number of requests by half but we still get them.
It goes along with people buying digital cameras and then taking their memory card into the local drug store and printing ALL the photos on the card, even the ones that didn't turn out quite right.
A lot of people also complain about brick and mortar department stores having wedding registries, job applications, etc., only in computerized form.
There are still a lot of people out there who just do not like the computer interface when it comes to such things.
In my opinion, your sales will probably NOT increase substantially just because you put out a printed catalog. A printed catalog may provide an entertainment solution to an otherwise bored customer, but if they're really looking to buy they will more than likely come to you site so they can immediately find the item, make sure it's in stock, and buy it in one swoop.
I've read that the typical order rate for catalogues is 2%. This coincides with my experience when I was sending out price lists by snailmail. It turned out to be not worth it to do even a cheap one that I printed out myself. I have heard from others in businesses related to my niche that they discontinued catalogues because of the low response--and theirs were eye-candy-type catalogues in contrast to my workaday type.
But obviously some catalogues must be worth sending out. When you hit a really big volume, they must become very cheap to print and mail. Can't see how they could make any money otherwise. Either that or the markup on their products is gigantic.
I routinely get "how much is that...? Where can I buy that..." "Why don't you show the prices of..."
I wanna scream.... "Look, it's a photo gallery! I DON'T SELL ANYTHING!"
Instead I just trash the emails.
My "contact us" page basically says I don't answer emails, at least very often, and almost never fast. I do show my email address though. It's amazing how many folks think I'll make an exception for them. :)
The most relevant email I got was one asking what kind of webmaster doesn't answer emails. I didn't answer it. :)
Personally, I wish we still had a catalog, I feel that it can carry its own weight. But, I don't write the checks here.
We have no catalog (they aren't all that profitable) and I've long stopped even answering such requests as our site CLEARLY says we have no print mail order catalog.
My guess is the most people are going down a long list and phoning everyone on it. Most aren't surprised when we tell them we don't have one.
I don't know if this works and if these mailings could be seen as Spam, but maybe its worth thinking about.
We offer catalogues for free and the ratio is about 3% for us. The trouble with catalogues is people will order them from you to upset and harass people with them, especially in the adult market place, this accounts for quite a few wasted catalogues and a lot of complaints.
We will not be doing a catalogue next year but putting more money into adding new products on a weekly basis.
Someone mentioned printing a catalogue of your website, we have over 3000 products online, how would we do this please?
Spending ages trying to figure out where green solid widgets are 'hidden' and how much they cost can be a nightmare. At least with a hard copy catalogue I can flip through the pages and don't have to wait for the database(s) to finish sorting and the page loading each time I go down a blind alley.
As members of this illustrious forum, I am sure you guys have the navigation well sorted, but maybe by fine tuning the navigation even more, these requests might be reduced and, consequently, online sales augmented.
This wouldn't reduce the requests with reasons as mentioned above, of course.
Just a thought......;)
Answers I commonly get:
* I want to show my friend, relative, husband, neighbor, etc.
* I couldn't find what I was looking for on your site, I was hoping you would have more stuff in your catalog.
* I like to read the catalog by the television for a while before making up my mind.
* I want to cut out the pictures for my scrapbook
* Customer thought we were someone else. Usually happens when they type "acme widgets" into the search engine and our ads show up. Even though the site is clearly branded they still assume they are on the acme homepage and call to order the acme catalog.
As for the companies that do direct mail catalogs, I belive the bulk presorted US cost is somewhere around 0.12 each for postage and printing costs for a small 16 page catalog can be as low as .25-.40 each. So if you are selling something with high enough pricing and margins, it still works.