The printing presses may be slowing down across the board, but online channels are starting to take up some of that slack. And, in an effort to capitalise on the mobile and online momentum and make it easier for retailers to get their wares in front of modern shoppers, Reachmedia has released the next version of its catalogue viewing platform, which effectively takes catalogues, resizes them and publishes them in a Facebook environment and on mobile apps.
European and North American retailers such as Walmart and Tesco are investing heavily in these emerging channels and, while Reach Media's chief cheese Greg Radford says we're well behind the curve, local retail organisations like Farmers, which released an interactive catalogue a few weeks back, are starting to follow suit.
"An increasing number of New Zealanders are turning to mobile and social channels for product information, recommendations and advice on where to purchase, as well as for transactions," says David Nation, general manager of sales and marketing for Reachmedia, Lasoo New Zealand’s parent company (one criticism of the Farmers catalogue was that there was no way to buy from it, and strangely, there's no e-commerce functionality or links to the retailers' websites through the Facebook catalogues either, despite being available on the catalogues featuring lasoo.co.nz website).
In addition to the new Facebook and mobile platforms, Lasoo.co.nz has recently added a daily deals department that collates a host of available offers from the likes of Groupy, GrabOne and Cudo and also moved its content to HTML 5 to enable cross platform social and mobile applications.
"The Lasoo development aims to support consumer discovery on multimedia devices while maintaining a low involvement mantra for retail partners," he says.
Not surprisingly, Nation thinks retailers should be allocating a higher percentage of their budgets to emerging channels, with a strong focus on mobile.
"Retailers are not able to keep up with their customers changing preferences, and are missing opportunities to connect with consumers on the go. We believe we have developed a simplified cost-effective solution to fulfil this need."