In the old days, everybody drooled over their copy of the Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog, and that company prospered. Today, people purchase facsimiles of those very same catalogs…and Sears no longer prospers.
We couldn’t help but remember this when the Web lit up with praise for J. Crew’s “sneak peek” release of images from its forthcoming fall “Style Guide” catalog…on Pinterest. Forbes magazine made a strong case for the move, citing a Harvard Business Review survey that found:
- 21% of Pinterest users bought an item they liked or pinned
- 80% of customers tend to buy within three weeks of pinning something.
It really does make good business sense.
So naturally we had to look at J. Crew’s Pinterest peek …
…And it looked kind of sad. Same coy-to-joyful models, same trendy clothes, but none of the fun and funky catalog photos. Where was (the slightly controversial) trip to Bali, the beachside poses – the soul?
True, J. Crew has transported these things to the digital editions of their catalogs, but if clinical Pinterest postings do so well, why bother making a catalog at all?
It all feels like one more step toward a world without paper catalogs, and by extension, paper. Very soon, nobody will need paper for anything – nearly everything can be replicated cheaply and efficiently in digital form. Add it to the list of other things nobody needs: art, music, film, laughter…or love. Pin it now, pine for it later.