The tablet has changed the way a lot of online and offline content is consumed.
In certain spheres a smartphone is too small and fiddly and the laptop is too heavy and awkward for a positive user experience. The most obvious sphere is when a consumer is on the sofa on a weekday evening or on a weekend. This sphere is prime time for catalogue perusal.
The catalgoue is changing
The catalogue in the conventional sense is changing. Before the days of widespread internet use and quick-and-easy online payment methods, many brands relied on the catalogue to penetrate the personal sphere of their consumers. I remember the Next and Argos catalogues sitting under the coffee table to be flicked through at leisure. The catalogues were routinely replaced with seasonal updates via post (Next) or store pick-up (Argos). Both these catalogues and distribution methods will become a thing of the past.
Due to the price, it is fair to say that tablets are currently predominantly used by more affluent people and families. As with all new technologies however, the price will fall year on year until everyone is using one.
The ASOS approach
Certain brands have already rejected the catalogue in its conventional format. 15 years ago the ASOS approach to business would not have been feasible. ASOS relies entirely on the internet for all its revenue. Where there would have been a catalogue 15 years ago there is now a website, mobile website, email marketing, social media and Apps.
Where tablets fit into the ASOS equation is in the form of a catalogue (of sorts).
What is a tablogue?
Within the ASOS tablet-catalogue or tablogue (working title) are possibilities for video content such as fashion shows, interactive experiences such as dressing mannequins which can then be saved, shared with friends or purchased along with live checking of stock levels and favouriting items. A positive user experience is available both online and offline.
Tablogues cannot be straight-forward copies of conventional catalogues. They need to be repurposed for the tablet. This repurposing may not necessarily make the tablogue a primary selling tool but can instead be a tool for creating brand engagement and loyalty.
Content is king
The repurposing of the catalogue for tablets centres on the user experience by providing the user with engaging content while adding value and enjoyment. Content is king with copy, imagery, video, audio, games and user experiences/journeys all integrated to engage the user and their family/friends.
As tablets are designed for internet consumption the tablogue currently comes in the form of an App which can then be updated weekly, monthly or seasonally depending on the brand. Clothing brands would typically update clothing lines weekly or monthly with a more comprehensive update every season.
The tech-savvy consumer expects...
I would argue that the advent of the tablogue is not only due to the increased functionality of tablets that can be exploited by brands; but that people actually expect brands they engage with to respond to technological changes. Modern consumers, especially younger consumers are tech-savvy and won’t stand for basic/lazy marketing.
What does the future hold?
As tablets become more prevalent in homes throughout the world I think tablogues will make a real contribution to brand engagement and become an increasingly important feature of a brand’s marketing programme.
This is not necessarily the beginning of the end for conventional catalogues but digital consumers are taking over from traditional consumers and brands with their finger on the pulse are reacting to that change.