The end of the paper catalog: how to bet on digital?

Each regulatory constraint corresponds to an opportunity to change practices. This is the case for the disappearance of the paper catalog in the retail sector. Indeed, by using recommendation technology, brands will be able to better communicate with their audiences.

New regulations, new paradigm

Since September 1, 2022, in 13 communities selected on application, the State has been experimenting with the principle of “Oui Pub”, a sticker to stick on your mailbox to indicate to the postman that you wish to receive advertising – no sticker, no ads. This initiative stems from the Climate and Resilience law of August 2021, inspired by the Citizen’s Climate Convention. It is therefore the opposite of the “Stop Pub” sticker which indicated that we did not want to receive paper advertisements.

But the big brands did not wait for the arrival of “Oui Pub” to take the lead and digitize their communication. For example, after Monoprix in 2019, then Ikea in 2021, it is Carrefour’s turn this year to stop the production and distribution of its paper catalog in certain cities.

In addition to the objective of reducing waste and the costs associated with the collection and treatment of waste, and minimizing the costs involved in its production and distribution, the brands saw this regulatory change as a major opportunity. That of moving their marketing efforts to the web, and exploiting all the technological and performance advantages, while saving money.

The advantages of the digital catalog

Since developing a digital catalog, retail chains have benefited from high-performance recommendation tools on the open Internet to communicate with their audiences. This is how they can distribute their catalogs on the sites of the biggest national and international media (Le Monde, L’Équipe, Marie-Claire, CNN, etc.). The discovery of their products is then done via a high quality experience, since it is non-intrusive, engaging, and non-risky for their “brand safety”. We see that catalog recommendations generate very high click-through rates, demonstrating strong engagement on the part of the targeted audiences.

In addition, thanks to proprietary data on the behavior and purchases of Internet users – unlike third-party cookies, these little trackers which are destined to disappear – collected by publishers, this distribution is made by exploiting the possibilities of audience targeting. very granular. Retailers can indeed personalize their catalogs for each segment of consumers, according to their preferences, their location, but also the stocks and promotional operations of each store. And this, in near real time.

The digital catalog also allows strong interactivity with the user: collection of information on products, viewing of videos, consultation of offers, online purchase, the possibilities of interaction are multiple. Retailers can then track and analyze the performance of their catalogs with great precision, something almost impossible with paper versions. And the engagement figures are excellent, it is not uncommon for example to see users exceed 50 page views per visit, or even consult several catalogs in a row. Added to in-store measurement tools, this tracking becomes extremely effective.

Best practices

To optimize this new “delivery” of the online catalog and take full advantage of its potential to introduce Internet users to new products, retailers must apply a few key practices:

– Enhance the creativity of the catalogs: by focusing on impactful visuals and highlighting new announcements (promotions, tips, exclusive sales, etc.)

– Refine targeting according to communication objectives: retargeting campaigns, for example, make it possible to retain audiences, and lead generation campaigns to conquer new targets

– Choosing the right formats: the many non-intrusive formats offered by native advertising promote engagement and qualification of visits

– Optimize the management of campaigns thanks to powerful measurement tools: the more the indicators are varied and precise (cost per visit, time spent on site, number of pages viewed, interactions with products, purchases, bounce rate , etc.), the more quality the traffic generated will be.

The recommendation is a powerful tool for large retailers who have to rethink the distribution of their catalogs in “Yes advertising” mode. It offers a very wide range of interactive formats, adapted to these new needs, very efficient and profitable.

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The end of the paper catalog: how to bet on digital?