Click here, fans of catalogs, and click here, fans of the future. Or click here if you love both.
If there's one thing completely missing from modern cataloging (and e-commerce), it's imagination. I once worked with an individual (early 90s) who famously coined the phrase "read a step, do a step, get a banana." That's what I run across now, on a daily basis. "What kind of model will increase response? How can I use color on my website to turbocharge conversion? Are there any retargeting ideas that dramatically improve engagement?" All reading steps, doing steps, getting bananas. And we've devalued strategy to the point that timing your tweets for maximum engagement is considered a "strategy".
The TBD Catalog is clearly not a "read a step, do a step, get a banana" kind of best practice, now is it? You'd be laughed out of the room if you said you were going to be a futurist who sells his/her ideas via a format not unlike a catalog ... at $23 a pop, no less. Imagine the content they write ... and then imagine your team sitting there relying on customer reviews to crowd source the role your copywriters should assume responsibility for.
I know, I know, this isn't a real catalog. You have widgets to move, and you're overstocked, so you have to take 40% off and offer free shipping and then in three weeks you'll ask me why your customers won't pay full price anymore, blaming the customer for being cheap and lazy.
But while taking 40% off plus free shipping to move widgets, why not also at least try attempting some semblance of creativity? Do something different! Use the TBD Catalog as a template for your own efforts.
You can be creative, it's in your DNA, it just needs to be awakened. Go try something!