In our industry (Lab Supplies and Science Education), we've seen an ongoing debate as to the future of the print catalog. I clearly see the trend in the research/industrial lab markets where the customers are primarily purchasing from their distributor's websites and not the print catalog.
In what may be shocking to some, my research tells me that the print catalog is still the primary tool in the science education market. Let's take a look and see why:
5. It's convenient. Teachers have always used catalogs and its easy to keep doing things the same way if it works.
4. Some catalogs have very useful information besides offering products for sale such as as safety tips, experiments, chemical properties, etc that enable the print catalog to be a valuable tool in the classroom.
3. It's a great way to see new products typically all in one spot as opposed to having to find them on a website.
2. It's easy for the distributors to see their investment in a catalog pay off. We've seen drops in sales from our distributors that do not print a catalog any more while seeing in increase with competitors. The market isn't shrinking, market share is simply changing.
1. Let's face it, its fun and exciting to look through a new catalog when they arrive in the mail. It's a great place to see complimentary products that help in putting lessons together. It's a great place to see teacher designed kits/experiments. And of course.....who doesn't want to be reminded to purchase a tie dye lab coat!