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Catalogers come together in new iPad app to drive sales

Many catalogers have reduced their print circulation numbers in recent years in the face of rising paper and postage costs. Mobile technology, however, is breathing new life into catalogs by providing a more cost-effective way for retailers to reach consumers with product information.

“We like being in an environment with other strong direct brands,” said Lisa Bayne, CEO of cataloger Artful Home, Madison, WI. “We also like that customers can shop in a catalog style or a more typical tablet style. The app also makes it also easier to be in relationships with people on social media sites, which is important for us.”

In the past year, numerous catalogers have experimented with QR codes in their print books as well as dedicated iPad catalog apps.

Catalog Spree, a new iPad app from Padopolis, wants to simplify shopping catalogs via the iPad by making multiple titles from a variety of sources available in one application.

Catalogers embrace iPad
Artful Home is one of the catalogers that see a benefit to placement in Catalog Spree as opposed to developing its own iPad app.

The launch of Catalog Spree follows’s launch in October of an iPad app also for multiple catalogs. launched in 1996 as a shopping site where visitors could find online versions of multiple catalogs.

Featured catalogs in’s iPad app include Aeropostale, Coldwater Creek, Orvis and JoS. A. Bank.

Catalog Spree’s app features 8 catalogs. In addition to being able to purchase items, users can click on an item to share it with Facebook friends, click “favorite” to save an item and track it for flash sales, subscribe to specific brands and get notifications when new catalogs become available. The app is available to download for free.

Padopolis is a mobile application software development company based in San Francisco.

While tablets such as the iPad account for a relatively small portion of overall retail sales, they are quickly impacting the way consumers shop.

Mobile retail grows
“Despite the fact that about only 25 percent of major retailers have entered mobile commerce, a full 10 percent of all commerce is happening on mobile devices and mobile is the fastest-growing retail channel,” said Rick Binger, chief operating officerand founding partner at Catalog Spree.

“Catalog Spree helps make the transition into this fourth channel easy for retailers,” he said. “Catalog Spree brings the best of the large investment retailers are already spending on their catalogs, the Web and mobile together.

“The iPad has the potential to have an enormous influence on retailer revenue.”

Currently, there are three ways to interact with the customer: brick and mortar, Internet and the catalog.

An Internet-only shopper spends an average of $120 a year at each retailer they patronize, per Catalog Spree.

For those consumers that buy in the store only, they spend an average of $180 at each retailer.

Catalog shoppers’average spend is $240 at each retailer.

But, for those who shop on all three, it’s more than $1,000 with each retailer. The iPad is helping mobile to continue to carve out a significant part of the fourth channel, per Mr. Binger.

The key to the iPad’s potential in retail is its ability to connect retailers with customers.

“The world of retailing has changed in that it is critical to be wherever a consumer feels like being at the moment,” Artful Home’s Ms. Bayne said. “With the rapid adoption of the iPad, we want to be easy for our customers to shop from however they choose to shop.”

Final Take
Lisa Bayne discusses marketing of crafts