After 17 years of flying the friendly skies, SkyMall is hitting the road. The co-op cataloger, whose print book is distributed via airplane seat pockets, in mid-April mailed 500,000 copies of its first in-home catalog to consumers. Christine Aguilera, president of the Phoenix-based company, describes the new book as a “best of” edition featuring the same retail partners, including Frontgate, Hammacher Schlemmer, and Plow & Hearth, as the in-flight version. But the in-home edition is only 40 pages — appreciably thinner than the 180-page catalogs found in planes — and is organized by product type rather than by catalog partner.
“Our research showed that our customers prefer to have the catalog arranged by product category instead of our current format,” Aguilera says. “It has a cleaner appearance and feel. We’re open to trying new things, and it’s cool to see SkyMall in a new format.” The 650 million airline passengers who have access to SkyMall each year are encouraged to take the catalog home with them after they’ve put away their tray tables and returned their seats to the upright position. The in-home version, Aguilera says, is intended to reinforce SkyMall’s brand in the consumer’s mind. “Instead of selling more product, the in-home catalog may be a reminder of what the consumer saw on the plane,” she says.
Most of the in-home editions will be mailed to names on the SkyMall house file, with the remainder going to names rented from airline partners. SkyMall plans to mail a second catalog later this year and a third for the holiday season. It will determine a frequency for next year after it tracks results.
Though SkyMall’s home catalog launched just prior to the May 14 postal increase, Aguilera says the company has factored the rate hike into its plans. “We’re obviously concerned about postal rate increases,” she says. “But on a relative basis, it won’t impact us as much because it’s a smaller test program.”