Boudin Bakery Slicing Off Print Catalog

Instead of Dropping its Usual 300,000 Catalogs in October, Boudin Bakery sent customers a flier to tell them it will no longer be producing print catalogs.

“We’re not going to prospect anymore, but we’re going to concentrate on our best buyers and communicate with them by e-mail,” says Gayle DeBrosse, Boudin’s executive vice president of business development.

The food merchant, which specializes in sourdough bread, understands that getting out of catalogs could hurt direct sales. But DeBrosse says the company thinks the money it saves by not dropping four times a year will help it offset a projected loss in business.

San Francisco-based Boudin, which started in 1849, began mailing catalogs in 1973. The baker’s decision to get out of print catalogs is environmental as well as financial, DeBrosse says.

“The message we’re sending [customers] is that we’re going almost paperless, since we will be sending out the flier. But we’ve had e-commerce for a while and we know our customers are going online to buy.”

DeBrosse says the company will continue to e-mail its loyalty club members at the same twice-a-month frequency, with additional blasts starting at the end of October. Boudin believes that e-mail, along with its current search engine optimization and marketing strategies, will be sufficient in driving business.

“There’s a risk involved, but we think we have a loyal following among our best buyers, and they will buy from our Website,” DeBrosse says.