December 05, 2011

Bolting A Catalog On To An iPad

You can't get away from it ... folks wanting to link catalog marketing and the iPad.

Now, of course I fully support experimentation in this realm.

But, as an industry, we are making a series of bets, aren't we?

  • We bet that Transitionals and Transformationals are looking for a modernized version of e-commerce, one that links the past (catalogs) to the future (undefined).  We are betting that these customers were not shopping with us because our business model wasn't advanced enough to meet their needs.
  • We bet that we can get existing Traditionals to spend more by offering these customers yet another purchase channel.
  • We are betting that, long-term, we can mail fewer catalogs, pushing customers into digital catalogs or following customers as customers migrate away from print into digital catalogs.
  • We bet that this type of shopping experience is better than our existing shopping experience.
We are also making a significant bet, one we don't often consider.
  • We are betting that it is better to bolt the iPad experience to the existing business than it is to create a new shopping experience using new technology.
This is a HUGE assumption.

Pay CLOSE attention to how non-catalogers monetize iPad Apps.

Pay close attention, for instance, to how the gaming community monetizes games on the iPad.  Here, mobile/social/viral elements are built into games ... there aren't technically "channels" ... instead, what we call "channels" are built into the fabric of the experience ... an inside-out approach that catalogers are simply not used to.