Spicers has issued a statement following its decision to not publish a catalogue in January next year:
“We acknowledge our decision breaks the tradition of an ever bigger annual publication, that in truth less and less dealers and importantly end users are using these days. Our recent customer survey identified that 34 per cent of our dealers are already not distributing a paper catalogue on an annual basis.
“In this digital age, doing the same old thing ‘because we always have’ shows a backwards looking outlook. Growth isn’t on the high street nor from paper-based publications that take 6 months to pull together, which are then out of date before the ink is dry. Without a date it would be hard to distinguish the publications of the past from one year to another. Indeed, research shows that digital content is becoming increasingly influential for B2B buyers, with 68 per cent of buyers preferring to gather their own information before even coming into contact with a sales person and catalogue.
“Growth is online and with flexible and adaptable supply chains, so we make no apologies for not producing a catalogue at the traditional January time. After all we would have had product selection just about completed by now, hardly up to date nor reflective of today’s market. We believe there is a much better way to support our suppliers and reseller alike.
“Does this mean we will no longer ever produce a catalogue? – No it doesn’t. There is still a place for the ‘Big Book’ and we will publish that on 1stSeptember. What it won’t be though, is the same old.
“We have spent a great deal of time, resource and investment in creating quality enhanced data. Equally importantly we’ve created the infrastructure to launch new products fully supported with not just data but the supply chain to provide both our supplier partners and supporting dealers with a rapid, robust and efficient route to market, so vital in today’s fast paced and changing market.
“The catalogue will provide the traditional reference and ordering point but will also drive marketing and new category opportunities; linking the best of print with the best of digital, creating a unique offering for both on-line, telesales and traditional sales forced based dealers alike.
“Amazon started off selling books but now offer well over a million wide ranging products. With the decline in traditional office products, we need to ensure we support the widest range of products, not just adding a further range of FS supplies and increasing lines to 18,000. What Spicers can offer will take dealers to a different level of range offering but with a cost effective and efficient supply chain.
“Producing a January catalogue would have been so wrong at this time and would have not delivered the necessary vision for the future - The September edition will be worth waiting for.
“Spicers will be providing additional marketing tools thoroughly researched and specifically designed to drive sales and engagement with your customers whose B2B buying habits are changing to be more aligned to consumer buying behaviours. A recent research report by MCM only 8.8 per cent of responders ranked Catalogues highly for customer retention and only 5.9 per cent of responders ranked them highly as prospecting tools.
“To showcase our January new product launches we will be releasing our ‘lookbook’ magazine format that will be available to order with your own custom covers. This will be complimented with engaging, and relevant digital campaign content, in form of social media, blogs and ‘in test trials’ content to spike interest with your consumers.
“Our strategy is to help move dealers towards a new, integrated marketing approach that blends relevant online and offline marketing materials to connect with consumers, and ultimately drive sales.”