Patagonia Shifts Fly Fishing Catalog Online

Outdoor gear and apparel merchant Patagonia has replaced its fly fishing print catalog with an online e-catalog.

Christina Speed, Patagonia’s marketing director, says the interactive fly fishing e-catalog launched the last week of March.

What prompted Patagonia to take the fly fishing title online-only?

“We aren’t really looking at it as a change,” Speed explains. “With everything going on with mobile/tablet/social media, we see an opportunity, so we’re starting small and listening to our customers. We’re taking advantage of the digital medium to create a great experience.”

It’s also not the first print catalog Patagonia has moved online. The company’s Surf spin-off, launched in April 2006, went Web-only this past fall. When Patagonia first sent the Surf e-catalog to its core customers, “we got a lot of great and useful feedback,” Speed says.

The company was not surprised that “our core is glad for the lack of tree-killing,” she notes. Because Patagonia’s philosophy is entrenched in environmental conservation, the savings in printing/postage from the fly fishing print catalog weren’t the driving force behind the switch to an e-catalog, Speed says.

“The natural resource savings is also very important to us. This format is a compelling and engaging way to continue to strengthen our relationship with our customers and to reach new ones.”

Is this something that Patagonia will pursue in the future with any of its other books? “What we learn will inform our future direction,” Speed says. Patagonia produced about 14 different mail order catalogs for fiscal 2010, she says.