June 23, 2019

Restoration Hardware Source Books


Source Books
  • We produce a series of catalogs, which we refer to as Source Books, to showcase our merchandise assortment. In fiscal 2018, our mailed Source Books included RH Interiors, RH Outdoor, RH Modern, RH Rugs, RH Teen, RH Baby & Child and RH Holiday. Our Source Books are one of our primary branding and advertising vehicles. We have found that merchandise assortments displayed in our Source Books contribute to increased sales of those products across all of our channels. As in our retail stores, our Source Books present our merchandise in lifestyle settings that reflect our unique design aesthetic. Our Source Books also feature profiles of select artisan vendors and other compelling editorial content regarding home d├ęcor. All creative work on our Source Books is coordinated in-house in our RH Center of Innovation & Product Leadership, providing us greater control over the brand image presented to our customers, while also reducing our Source Book production costs.
    Our Source Book mailings serve as a key driver of sales through both our websites and retail stores. Our customers respond to the Source Books across all of our channels, with sales trends closely correlating to the assortments that we emphasize and feature prominently in our Source Books, websites and retail Galleries. We continue to evaluate and optimize our Source Book strategy based on our experience.
    We maintain a database of customer information, including customer information from our RH Members Program, which includes sales patterns, detailed purchasing information, certain demographic information, as well as mailing and email addresses. We mail our Source Books to addresses within this database and to addresses provided to us by third parties. The database supports our ability to analyze our customers’ buying behaviors across sales channels and facilitates the development of targeted marketing strategies, and is maintained in accordance with our privacy policy disclosed on our website. We segment our customer files based on multiple variables, and we tailor our Source Book mailings and emails in response to the purchasing patterns and product needs of our customers. We focus on continually improving the segmentation of customer files and the expansion of our customer database.
    Our Source Books, in concert with our e-commerce channel, are a cost-effective means of testing new products, and allow us to launch categories in a disciplined, expeditious and cost-effective manner.

In case that is TL:DR for you, here's what I want you to take from this:
  • Our Source Books are one of our primary branding and advertising vehicles. 
  • No mention of profitability. None. Interesting.
  • They have a "RH Center of Innovation & Product Leadership" which most of the companies I work with call "2nd floor" or "Creative".
  • They mail the Source Book to "addresses provided to us by third parties" ... a fancy way of saying "we rent names from co-ops".
The future of catalog marketing is a shift away from the classic business model (which began to die the minute Google began to "scale" nearly twenty years ago) into an advertising / branding vehicle. Something very different than a vehicle that maximizes sales per square inch. I can barely believe I just uttered this sentence, since it goes against everything I've historically believed ... but here we are, and we may as well acknowledge it, right?






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