Just about every product imaginable can be purchased via catalogs.
J.C. Penney offers a general merchandise catalog, while other retailers
provide niche catalogs, selling products such as crafts, art supplies,
books, computers, and shoes. Today it is possible to live in
remote areas and purchase everything needed for home, business, and
hobby use without leaving the comfort of one's home!
Catalog shopping has a long and storied history in the United States.
Catalogs basically came on the scene when printing did; the first catalogs
were produced by printers to list and advertise their publications.
Printers would make up a one-sheet catalog listing their wares, and would
inform potential buyers where they could meet the vendor — usually
a local inn or library — to make their purchases. In time, it
became clear that many merchants outside the printing industry could also
benefit by publishing product catalogs.
As America grew westward during the nineteenth century, the expansion
created a broad market for household goods and farm equipment.
The number of farms increased and farms were becoming more mechanized,
yet these farms were often isolated in the rural landscape. Distant
stores and high-priced itinerant peddlers were often the only means of
purchasing needed products and supplies. These factors made way
for catalog and mail order retailing to become accepted. Catalog
vendors could purchase quantities of products at wholesale prices, so they
could offer lower retail prices. As postal service and railroads
were expanded, better methods of delivering purchases added to the ease
of catalog shopping. Montgomery Ward became the catalog of choice
for many farmers. Sears, Roebuck and Company also embraced the
concept of national retail marketing via catalog. These catalogs,
and others like them, included farm tools, household items, clothing,
toys, and even entire houses in kit form! Specialty catalogs came
and went over the years as well, featuring items that people wanted to
buy but couldn't find locally. Orvis, for example, distributed a
catalog that sold fishing lures, while Tiffany & Company published
a catalog featuring items imported from China and Europe. Through
catalog shopping, small rural areas could be reached as well as cities.
In recent years, catalogs have frequently been made available online
for easy access via the Internet. This has enabled merchandisers
to reduce catalog printing and mailing costs and has enabled consumers
to find information about various products and order them conveniently,
from anywhere in the world! Availability of these online catalogs
has also saved us getting the "deluge" of printed catalogs in the mail
as the holiday shopping season approaches. Either way, via the
old style print catalogs or the newer, online catalogs, catalog shopping
has helped us to find just the right product when we've needed it.
Online catalog for home environment gifts and home
furnishings. Shop online for home decor and bed & bath products
as well as consumer electronics and innovative home storage &
organization products. www.Frontgate.com
This organization is a global trade association of
businesses and non-profit organizations that use and support various
direct marketing tools and techniques, including catalog marketing. www.TheDMA.org