Pier 1: No Return to Catalogs

Home furnishings and decor retailer Pier 1 Imports announced in June 2007 it was shuttering its three-year-old catalog and its seven-year-old e-commerce site. So what exactly are these Pier 1 Imports mini-mailers that closely resemble catalogs and keep showing up in mailboxes?

The print mailers, ranging from 40-48 pages, have been circulated for at least a year, according to Pier 1 Imports spokesperson Kelly Keenum. The company, she says, plans to do five to seven print mailers this fiscal year, but it has no current plans to relaunch a print catalog.

Pier 1 doesn’t release circulation figures, but each print mailing varies depending on the time of year and is designed around a specific in-store promotional event, Keenum says. “Because we are a single channel retailer now (no phone orders, no e-commerce), all of our marketing materials are designed to drive traffic in-store,” she says.

What do Pier 1 customers (who presumably had shopped via the direct channels too) think of the print mailers? “Overall, the response has been positive,” Keenum says. “Of course, these mailers are being done in addition to other marketing/advertising tactics.”

Keenum says she hasn’t heard of anyone actually trying to order from the mailers, but she can’t be sure. “They aren’t designed like catalogs, though – they have prices, but no SKU [numbers], and most shots are environmental shots.”

(Multichannel Merchant Editor-in-Chief Melissa Dowling weighed in on Pier 1’s print mailers last month in Pier pressure to be multichannel.)