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Printing Industry Exchange (printindustry.com) is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Catalog Printing: IKEA and Fossil Integrate Print and Digital

I read a short article yesterday about digital enhancements IKEA has incorporated into its 2013 print catalog, plus IKEA’s strong commitment to maintaining a print catalog presence along with its digital marketing initiatives. What I find interesting is that in an era of dour predictions forecasting the death of custom printing, some avenues for print seem to actually be growing. Here is an example of one: the print catalog.

IKEA’s Cross Channel Marketing Work

I have included two quotes of interest from PrintCAN, 13 August 2012 (“IKEA adds digital enhancements to printed catalogue”):

“The printed catalogue remains the cornerstone of our marketing campaign globally.”

“As we enter new markets, the [catalog] production will increase.”


While restating their commitment to the printed catalog, which is actually delivered to approximately 210 million homes around the world (according to PrintCAN), IKEA is expanding the capabilities of the catalog and integrating the print version with IKEA’s digital presence.

Specifically, IKEA provides a downloadable app, which allows one to point a smartphone at a print catalog page and “access films about IKEA products, experience 3D models, look behind closed doors with an x-ray function or change the curtains and get creative” (Madeline Löwenborg-Frick, public relations manager for IKEA Canada).

In addition, the catalog itself is available in digital format at IKEA’s website.

IKEA and its marketing team (ad agency McCann New York) have focused on “enhancing [the catalog] with technology and storytelling.”

More Than Just Anecdotal Evidence

While one story does not confirm a trend, I will say that I believe IKEA exerts a certain amount of heft within the retail furniture market due to its global reach, so I believe this short article from PrintCAN is provocative. I would add to this anecdotal evidence my reading in marketing periodicals provided by the US Post Office as well as various trade journals I receive, all of which confirm this trend.

Still More Anecdotal Evidence: the Fossil Catalog

I’m speaking now as a print buyer, a graphic designer, and one who appreciates consumer leather goods.

I went shopping in the Tanger Outlets in Rehoboth, MD, last week. Since I like watches and leather briefcases, I visited Fossil. When I had checked out the store, I wanted to take home something to remember the shopping experience and perhaps use to get more information on various items. So I reached for the stack of print catalogs. The thick matte paper stock, the consistent chocolate hues that carried through the magazine, and the alternating lifestyle photos and product shots kept Fossil’s brand and the quality I had experienced in the store (store design, ambience, service, and quality products) at the top of my mind.

Next I went to the Fossil website and saw the same overall color scheme, the same typefaces, and images of the same models I had seen in the catalog. I could look up items that interested me, and the combined effect of the Fossil outlet store, print catalog, and online experience reinforced a sense I had that Fossil goods would all be stylish and well made, and that the Fossil company itself would be knowledgeable, reliable, and courteous.

I know all of this is marketing finesse. In fact, I know that it is effective marketing because I understand the nuances. I know the entire experience is crafted by savvy marketing professionals. But I also have seen and used the products, and they don’t disappoint.

What This Really Means

What this really means that a marketing team can create a synergistic effect through multiple media. A retail establishment can position itself as a provider of quality goods by coordinating its store design, its online experience, and its print catalog. Each experience augments the others.

I see that Fossil has included on the back cover of the catalog three icons: one for Facebook, one for Twitter, and one for Pinterest. They’re working all the digital avenues. I don’t see a QR code, but that may appear in the next issue of the print catalog.

Clearly Fossil, like IKEA, has seen value not only in oneline marketing but also in the legacy marketing device: the printed catalog.

2 Responses to “Catalog Printing: IKEA and Fossil Integrate Print and Digital”

  1. I am a big fan of your blog. Really great post. Thanks for sharing.

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