IKEA should have used new print offerings rather than cease printing its iconic catalogue, according to a print expert.
The leading furniture retailer made the decision in December to no longer offer a hard copy of its much loved catalogue, which at one time had a greater distribution than the bible.
But according to the CEO of one of the UK’s top print companies, IKEA could have used a new solution which would have allowed a more targeted approach to their customers.
Gary Peeling heads up the Precision Proco Group, renowned for leading the way in print solutions and using the latest technology.
The company – which operates from sites in London, Sunderland, Sheffield and Nottingham – creates products for scores of high street brands and popular online sites.
According to Peeling, there has been a huge amount of growth in requests for printed products, even in the digital age.
“The fact is there seems to be a misconception that there is no need for print,” he said.
“But the truth is that marketeers the world over are now recognising the fact that offline is the new online and that print is a trusted medium, as well as having longevity.
“Print doesn’t replace digital marketing, it enhances it, driving people towards products and services.”
Peeling’s words are borne out by research carried out by Royal Mail, which revealed that 63 per cent of people said they would rather browse through products in a catalogue, rather than in-store or online.
At the same time 65% of people reported that they enjoyed browsing catalogues in their own time, while a staggering 75% said that looking at catalogues gave them ideas for things to do or buy.
The CEO believes that IKEA should have adopted “print on demand” technology, which meant that customers could still get a catalogue, but a version tailored to their specific interests.
“Rather than browse through hundreds of pages to find what they’re looking for, through print on demand it is easy to produce a smaller version – say for someone wanting to look at everything to do with kitchens or bathrooms,” said Peeling.
“Then all the associated products can be in that particular catalogue which can be created in a really cost effective way.
“It allows businesses to create targeted and relevant printed products to engage with their customers.”
He added: “Print doesn’t replace digital marketing, it enhances it, driving people towards products and services that they didn’t know they want yet, so while stores are closed the catalogue would have helped tremendously.
“It doesn’t need charging, bandwidth or negotiation with your kids using a device for YouTube, it’s perfect for me-time with a cuppa and browse during lockdown, which would really deliver some ‘Wonderful Everyday’.”
Research carried out by the DMA (Data & Marketing Association) also highlights that a large percentage of people trust information they read in a printed document rather than something they see online.
“In this world of fake news and social media people like the tangible benefits of something they can touch and interact with,” said Mr Peeling.
“They have more faith in it and a lot of high volume ecommerce clients are also recognising the fact that modern print technology closes the gap between offline and online.
“Modern day print and the solutions it offers are a huge asset to any company which wants to put a shop window in their customers’ homes.”