Bare Necessities Launches Two Digital Catalogs

Hoping to cash in on the burgeoning tablet commerce market, intimate apparel merchant Bare Necessities has launched two new digital catalogs designed specifically for a tablet shopping experience. They’re available via the free Google Catalogs and Catalog Spree tablet apps for both iPad and Android, and can be accessed on as well.

The first new catalog is Bare Necessities’ swimwear collection (29 pages), featuring brands such as SPANX, Elomi, Freya, and Fantasie. The second digital catalog highlights Bare Necessities’ spring bra and lingerie collection from Wacoal (21 pages) designed for an interactive, tablet environment.

Jay Dunn, chief marketing officer for Bare Necessities, believes today’s technology along with the popularity and interactivity of tablets such as the iPad and Kindle Fire will change the way customers shop from catalogs. Dunn started at Bare Necessities last July.

Dunn, who used to work at Lane Bryant, Ross-Simons, and Brookstone – to name a few – said by eliminating print editions, “we are able to design a catalog exclusively for the digital environment. It’s a strategy I began developing last year when we were looking at the performance of our print catalogs. We’re a relatively smaller company and my belief is there is an emerging customer out there I think we can transition over to a digital environment for catalogs.”

Dunn said the new digital catalogs are interactive and creatively rich. “With one tap, she can view details about the fashion, watch in-line videos, create collages of favorite items, and email favorites to friends. It is not only fun and useful, but it matches how today’s consumer wants to shop.”

Current estimates say 56 million iPads will be sold this year, Dunn said.

“It’s an opportunity for us to get out there in a multichannel environment and try and create a new opportunity for greater distribution of our products,” Dunn said. “I don’t expect to put a catalog onto the tablet platform and in and of itself it will become popular.”

Dunn said Bare Necessities plans to support the digital catalogs with a heavy email campaign and Facebook advertising.

“We’re trying to think outside the box with what technology has given us,” Dunn said. “We know we’re probably a little early, but it’s a relatively modest investment. We think if people test drive it they will like it. It’s a terrific experience that’s very smooth and very fast. “

Although there isn’t a companion print catalog with the new digital catalogs, Dunn said the company still mails print catalogs – albeit at a significantly reduced rate (less than 1 million total circulation this year compared to 2 million in 2011).

“The cool thing about Google catalog is you can subscribe to a specific catalog,” Dunn said. “This is less about savings on print catalogs and postage and more about distribution and the ability to touch more customers. With social media, we have the ability for an extraordinary reach I can’t match in direct mail. Our job is to communicate this well enough. The ease of use with these digital catalogs is the tipping point for us.”

Jim Tierney ( is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.

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