Why Magazines Are The New Catalogs This Holiday Season

It's begun: catalog overload. Each holiday season, our mailboxes overflow with catalogs from retailers -- some we’ve done business with and others we’ve never heard of. They know you need to shop and want to be there when you are ready. The sheer amount becomes so overwhelming -- and the perceived value so low -- that many catalogs end up in the recycling bin long before they ever have a chance of being opened.

Magazines, on the other hand, are something consumers look forward to each month. They pay for this content, value the perspective of the editors, and enjoy the creativity of the advertising within. Readers are inspired as they discover new products. Then they “dog-ear” or bookmark pages featuring items they want or that might make a great gift.

While we often place great value on our favorite magazines, there has not been an easy, natural way to move those inspired consumers from the moment of discovery to the point of purchase. Herein lies the dilemma. You have potential buyers captivated in an environment they trust at the earliest point in the sales funnel -- yet have no way to immediately engage them and then continually nurture them to help move a sale along.



This holiday season will be the first where we begin to see a slight shift as retailers and brands target shoppers through print and tablet magazines. Don’t get me wrong -- I fully anticipate that your mailbox will still be full of catalogs; but you will begin to notice something new and exciting within your favorite magazines -- the ability to discover and shop for gifts right from the pages you would ordinarily dog-ear and forget.

Imagine giving shoppers the satisfaction of instant gratification as they are able to scan codes and watermarks with their phones while flipping through a print magazine -- adding products to a master shopping list, with direct links to retailers who offer them. For publishers of tablet magazines, and the brands that are highlighted within editorial features and paid advertisements, it becomes even easier. See a product that interests you, and with a tap of your finger buy it or save it for later.

Readers are looking for a simple solution that connects them to the products they see and want in the publications they read. And just in time for the holiday season, a number of publications have implemented this reader service within both the ads and the editorial. Publishers are opening new channels for brands and retailers to reach their target audience and measure engagement at every phase -- from initial discovery to preferred retailers or price sensitivities, and ultimately ROI.

Will shoppable magazines ever replace catalogs as the go-to medium for shopping? Maybe not. But it’s certainly a strategy that publishers, retailers and brands are getting on board with as they begin seeing measurable results by marketing to shoppers in a place they trust and enjoy -- all in a way that is not possible with traditional catalogs that may never have the chance of being opened.

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