June 08, 2011

Retailers and Tablets

You've probably research Catalog Spree, correct?  Click here to take a peek.

One of the mistakes we're likely to see in the next few years is the "put a catalog on a tablet and you've got multi-channel success" mistake.

Again, we have to look at the data.  Customers who love B2C catalogs are largely age 55+.

Customers who love tablet devices are largely 30-39 years old (yes, I understand, 23 year olds love tablets and 71 year olds sometimes love tablets, I get it).  And, yes, I realize that catalogers will say that we are "multichannel", that because we have a website we're not actually catalogers, and then we'll mention that 33 year olds shop the website, so tablet devices could work.  I get it.

Retail brands and catalog brands are, of course, applying "what we know" to tablet devices.  We did this in the late 1990s, remember CD-ROM?  "We will put the catalog on a CD and put the CD in the mail and the customer will love it!"  Remember?

I'm not saying that a catalog on a tablet device can't work, it certainly can, and in many cases, it will work.

I am saying that we aren't thinking through the problem in an adequate manner.

What problem does a tablet device solve?  How do we use the device to solve the problem?  Does our customer demographic even use tablets?

Odds are that placing a catalog on a tablet device doesn't solve a problem faced by a customer.  There are catalogs in print, there's our website, and now, a third way to buy the exact same item.  We need to solve a customer problem.

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