July 17, 2011

Dear Catalog CEOs: The Screen

Dear Catalog CEOs:

Times have changed.

These days, people toss micro-channels all around you.  Your cell phone, your tablet, your television, your laptop ... plenty of screens.

Yes, screens.

Social media is nothing more than a way to communicate across/between screens.

When viewed through that context, there's no such thing as e-commerce or f-commerce or m-commerce ... there's s-commerce, screen commerce.

Catalogers are being cornered by screens.  Customers used to get information from the mailbox, once a day.  Now, customers get information via screens, 24/7/365.

Marketing via the mailbox is very different than marketing via screens.  Early in this evolution, we were taught to use the mailbox to drive business to the screen.  Increasingly, it seems like we're going to have to figure out how to drive business to the screen, independent of the mailbox, if we want s-commerce to thrive.  And no, I'm not talking about the pundit version of mobile (gamification, Apple vs. Google, tablets vs. phones, Facebook, Twitter integration, blah blah blah blah blah blah), because that's like having a discussion in 1995 about Netscape vs. Internet Explorer vs. AOL.  And I'm not talking about putting a catalog on a tablet, that's not likely to be what the customer migrates to over time.

No, I'm talking about having a holistic strategy for how a brand is represented on "The Screen".  We need to start thinking about our screen strategy, content, programming, commerce ... the cataloger is essentially a media company.

All of this, of course, is a precursor to h-commerce ... hologram commerce, right?

Or, we can continue to plan the spreads in our March 2012 catalog.

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