I wonder how long it will be before retailers try out a concept that I call a "mini-catalog". This might be an eight page PDF document (see DMNews and their Outlook 2007 for a media-version of the concept), featuring a number of top-selling items. The objective of the mini-catalog is to get you to print it on your color printer, and then use it as a guide for your in-store shopping experience.
The mini-catalog could be downloaded via a weekly e-mail campaign, an RSS feed, or could be featured on a key landing page of the website. In addition, these "mini-catalogs" could be developed to improve natural search results.
Even better, the retailer could allow the customer to cobble together ten or twenty favorite items, which could be assembled into an on-demand catalog that the customer prints on their home or work printer. The on-demand catalog is just a fancy version of the shopping cart, a place customers store mechandise that they might be interested in purchasing at a later date.
The concept of the on-demand catalog is something that retailers and catalogers are bound to begin exploring in 2007 and 2008. The on-demand catalog allows the customer to assemble the products and services s/he is interested in. The multichannel retailer gets to identify items that are of interest to these highly engaged customers, and use that information to personalize e-mail, print and RSS campaigns.
Mini-Catalogs and On-Demand Catalogs. Expect to see multichannel retailers explore these ideas in 2007 and 2008.