I admit it. When I started working for FJC a couple years ago I questioned their printed catalog strategy. “We have the INTERNET nowadays,” I argued, “We don’t need to pay to design, print and mail out physical catalogs!” It became a personal mission to bring our digital presence up to date – so today we enjoy updated online directories, a great website, a weekly blog, excellent online customer reviews, and a thriving social media presence. Along the way, however, I learned some valuable things about our customers—and so despite our increased digital footprint we continue to print an annual catalog and deliver them into the hands of our wonderful customers just as we always have.
And, we don’t plan to stop.
One thing we frequently hear from our customers is that a physical printed catalog is “tangible”. It becomes a permanent part of their business. They like having a copy or two on their sales counters and more in their shops to use for reference so they don’t need to go to a desk to look up items or information. They like being able to dog-ear important pages and to take notes in the margins so they have a record of their experiences. And when they have “down time”, a catalog allows them to peruse our products at their own pace, on their own schedule—and they won’t accidentally close their browser, or have to frantically search for something they saw online a month or more ago.
The first few pages of the FJC catalog is always dedicated to new industry-forward products which help our customers stay on the forefront of the changing needs of the automotive air conditioning industry. We hear often that our customers check out this area as soon as their new catalogs are received. Without this vital communication, they might not be inclined to research emerging trends for their businesses.
In addition to our products we share important company information, including our physical and digital contact information and warranty policy. We also share critical industry information, including product interchanges and governmental regulatory changes which will impact their business.
When customers pick up our catalog, they get valuable information immediately. They also tend to spend more time consuming that information than they would online. They are able to put it down and pick it up again later to reinforce that information. All these things help them to foster a learning environment for themselves, their staff, and even their own customers.