Rather than help switch me to a more efficient and better user experience online, catalog companies like Chefs want to use negative reinforcement psychology and systems to make me elicit their desired response.  That will rarely work.

According to EMarketer, retail apps may well cut into the browsing time of catalogs.  So, its a really bad idea to attempt to negatively induce me to keep them.

Eliminate Catalogs? – Negative Reinforcement

We received this catalog over Christmas and it is typical of how disconnected catalog companies are from a changing customer base. It’s as if Chefs has forgotten that the digital world is upon us. They are trying to use negative reinforcement to get me to keep getting a their catalog, as if it were a magazine. I am not an active customer. If I don’t buy something, they will stop sending me a catalog. How are they missing the mark?

Threatening Me is Not An Inducement

We obviously have not purchased from Chefs in a while. And they are reminding me that. Ok. So what is the inducement for me to become an active customer? The threat of not getting their catalog.

Catalogs Hurt The Environment — Appeal to My Eco Sensivities

Chefs clearly does not understand my eco sensibilities. Catalogs consume tons of paper, which consume trees which we all know are key to a healthy environment. So why would I want a catalog sent to me knowing it has wiped out trees in the process? Clearly, Chefs does not understand that I want to eliminate catalogs.

Anyway, Digital is a Better User Experience Than Catalogs

I have better search options, better content descriptions, better comparison shopping. I can see what my friends have purchased online. Why would I want to browse through content that is not curated especially for me, that does not display user reviews or to learn more about the product and context for its use.

Digital is better, better, better.

Induce Me, Don’t Threaten Me to Become an Active Customer

We are living in an information intense, transparent economy. No one has an exclusive lock on products. Customer loyalties are easily lost and very hard to win. Induce me to become a customer. Don’t threaten me. And don’t threaten me about something I don’t care about.

By the way — free shipping does not count as an inducement. Its an expectation not a reward.