Redesign Gives Knapp Shoes Catalog a Polish

To make sure it’s putting its best foot forward, Knapp Shoes redesigned its catalog late last year. At the same time, the Pittsburgh-based company tweaked its circulation strategy and merchandising, all of which has significantly improved sales.

The revamped catalog mailed to 200,000 customers in January. “We’ve been around since 1921, and it was time for a change,” says Jeff Meeks, director of marketing for the $6.5 million Knapp. The company had previously designed the catalog inhouse, but it enlisted the help of consultancy J. Schmid and Associates to clean up the creative and copy.

With the redesigned book, the company’s logo at the top left of the cover is smaller, and three pairs of shoes are featured instead of the four shown with the former design. Backgrounds feature more white space, product photos are larger, and copy is more succinct, with less type on most pages. The cataloger also began personalizing many of the books with the customer’s name on the front cover, rather than on the “belly bands” (paper belts that encircle the catalog) it used in the past.

On the merchandising front, Knapp has added new styles and colors, including more shoes for customers with very narrow or very wide feet. The company also introduced brown shoes to its line of service footwear, which was previously available only in black. With the new products, Knapp’s price points have increased about $2 a pair across the board.

Knapp Shoes spruced up its circulation strategies as well, using more in-depth RFM analysis and working to reactivate previous buyers. “We’ve brought back more than 1,000 customers who had last purchased from us three years ago or more,” Meeks says. At the same time the company, which mails about 2 million catalogs a year, has been careful to keep prospecting in check, increasing circulation for the year just 60,000, and reducing frequency to nine drops from 12.

As of June, the company’s sales were up $80,000 from the prior year, which Meeks says “is due to the redesign, as well as the success of our spring sale and our new personalization techniques.”

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