IKEA is ending a long summer tradition of mailing out its popular print catalogue to homes across the country.
People can browse the new catalogue online beginning Aug. 7, but obtaining a print copy will require them to visit a store (consumers will be able to order a print copy at IKEA.ca beginning Sept. 1). The company printed 5.5 million copies of the catalogue last year, compared with just two million this year.
IKEA says the decision is in response to changing consumer behaviour created by the continued growth of digital retail.
“[O]ur customers are choosing to interact with the catalogue differently, and we see more and more customers choosing to view it online and through our digital channels,” said Kristin Newbigging, public relations manager for IKEA. “As we would love to see as many customers as possible in our stores, we have decided to make our catalogue available in-store and online only this year.”
The move will obviously provide significant print and mailing cost savings, and will likely lead to more consumer data capture online as people are pushed to the site to review the catalogue. But emphasizing digital may also mean less engagement with consumers, said one media agency executive who’s worked with catalogues for a large Canadian retailer. “That’s the beauty of print, high time spent… Digital catalogues don’t have the same impact, there’s no passive engagement for people to explore over and over.”
To draw people to the store to pick up the catalogue, IKEA is running an ad campaign from Rethink that makes light of the switch, telling consumers their catalogue is being held hostage. Radio spots will use the Jonas character who has been revived in recent IKEA Canada advertising, disguising his voice while telling people he has their “precious catalogue.”
IKEA is also introducing a series of Home Furnishings Festivals. “[T]raditional brick and mortar stores are becoming more experiential. Based on this trend, we have developed four large scale launches that will be just as big as the launch of the annual catalogue,” said Newbigging.
The first event, the IKEA House Party, will be held on Aug. 16, with members of IKEA’s loyalty club the IKEA Family invited to celebrate the new catalogue and the retailer’s new Symfonisk Wifi speaker collection.