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Tried and true

Retailer relies on catalogs to drive sales

Henry Coleman, a Hammacher Schlemmer marketing executive, discusses the company’s services in a video on the National Postal Museum’s site.

Hammacher Schlemmer is known for selling cutting-edge gadgets, but the company relies on a tried-and-true vehicle — its mail-order catalogs — to communicate with customers.

“The catalog is a catalyst for all of our marketing efforts,” Henry Coleman, a Hammacher marketing executive, says in a video on the National Postal Museum’s site.

“It really serves as the primary way that we communicate to our current customers and acquire new customers.”

The 1-minute, 30-second video is part of “America’s Mailing Industry,” an online exhibit showcasing USPS and its business customers.

Hammacher, based in Niles, IL, mails about 60 million catalogs each year.

Although the publication dates to the 1880s, making it the nation’s oldest continuously operating catalog, it remains innovative.

Hammacher has embraced the Postal Service’s efforts to encourage businesses to use augmented reality and similar features to enliven their mailpieces.

For example, customers can hover their smartphone or tablet over Hammacher’s catalog pages to see items come to life, read product reviews or make online purchases.

“The internet allows us to deepen the relationship with our existing customers and deepen the relationship for prospects, but only as a companion to our existing processes,” Coleman says.

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