Magazine article USA TODAY

Catalog Overload Turns off Customers

Magazine article USA TODAY

Catalog Overload Turns off Customers

Article excerpt

"Too much is never enough" is bad marketing advice where catalogs are concerned, according to Richard Feinberg, head of Purdue University's Department of Consumer Sciences and Retailing. His study found that the more catalogs a consumer gets, the less likely he or she is to buy.

"Customers appear to reach a point of information overload, in much the same way as an electrical circuit reaches overload. In an electrical circuit, when that point is reached, everything shuts down. The same thing happens when customers reach a saturation point with catalogs. They may simply quit buying altogether."

Most direct mail companies apparently employ a marketing strategy of flooding the consumer with information and options in the belief that the customer will buy something sooner or later. More than 13,000,000,000 catalogs are sent to 80,000,000,000 homes each year.

"Since most households already receive about 163 catalogs a year, they already appear to be very close to the point of overload. …

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