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Monday, June 14, 2004

Online Product Catalogs on the rise via NYT

HIGH-SPEED Internet connections are more than just a boon to Web surfers. Internet retailing executives love them, too. Now that most people have at least some access to high-speed Internet lines, online retailers can finally dust off features they had shelved, lest they alienate the click-and-wait set.A case in point is the re-emergence of online catalogs, an idea whose time first came in the late 90's when catalog merchants began their counteroffensive against Web-only merchants. The original idea was simply to take all those slick photo spreads shot for companies' regular catalogs and splash them across a Web page. Customers' jaws would drop, wallets would fly open and conventional catalog companies would bump their Internet-only rivals from the headlines and from stock portfolios.Virtual catalogs are nearly identical to their print counterparts, except that readers click to turn pages, and the photographs are roughly one-third smaller. Customers can print out pages, zoom in for item close-ups or click on the buy button adjacent to the photo.The main advantage, the retailers believe, is that online catalogs grab the attention of newer Internet shoppers who may be more comfortable with the familiar catalog format. Experienced online shoppers still much prefer the grid system found on many Web sites like Amazon.com and Gap.com.Given the versatility of virtual catalogs and the growing tendency of catalog recipients to buy online, one might expect catalog companies to reduce their reliance on paper catalogs, which can cost $1 or more each to produce. But many companies remain convinced of the paper catalog's power as an advertising vehicle - so much so that many businesses that started out as Internet-only companies now mail catalogs, too. And, of course, they offer virtual versions.Its not curtain down for paper catalog's - not now!!
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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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