Bloomie’s Dropping Catalog, Focusing Online
Bloomingdale’s announced last week that it plans to stop publishing its Bloomingdale’s By Mail catalog and shift its entire direct-to-consumer focus to the its website.
The department store made the decision after seeing sales growth at Bloomingdales.com far outpace its catalog business. The company said it would discontinue publishing Bloomingdale’s by Mail in early 2009. Bloomingdale’s direct-to-consumer business is expected to generate more than $1 billion in sales this year.
“Bloomingdale’s is focused on growing its online business, increasing profitability and reflecting a seamless brand and merchandise selection, whether it be in-store or online,” said Michael Gould, chairman and chief executive officer of Bloomingdale’s, in a press release. “As more customers turn to the Web for access to Bloomingdale’s, their shopping experience must be brand-right. We intend to implement various enhancements to the Web experience, including ones that can bring to life some of our celebrated special events. Eliminating the paper catalog is also consistent with our sustainability and environmental policies of communicating more with customers electronically and less in paper.”
Discussion Question: What is the nature of the relationship between catalogs and websites in direct-to-consumer operations? Is Bloomingdale’s making the right decision by dropping its catalog and focusing entirely on its website operations?