Without a doubt the 5th Industrial revolution is now a rapid work in progress.

It's been a defining time for sure, not only has this virus managed to upend business sectors of all kinds it's also accelerated the move towards business transformation just like the earlier industrial revolutions seemed to have done.

In December 2020 a third of all Christmas shopping was forecast to have been done online as coronavirus lockdowns across the UK kept people at home, and across the globe made many shoppers decide getting gifts delivered to the front door is safer and easier than buying on the High Street.

It also seems that a sector often touted as having had its day is also seeing a great revival - 'Mail order' is also now big, big business.

As advertising has become increasingly dominated by the Facebook and Google duopoly, it would be easy to write off the print catalog as a relic.

Just look at Sears: the once-iconic catalog retailer has finally filed for bankruptcy. But more e-commerce reliant retailers are rolling out magazine style catalogues to hook prospects and keep existing customers loyal, including startups like Everlane, Bonobos, Boll & Branch and Greats, as well as more traditional retailers, including JCPenney, Williams-Sonoma and Lafayette 148.

Did you know that one of the huge success stories for the mail order industry began life in 'Wales'?

"Jones is credited as being the pioneer of a global mail order industry now worth about £75bn - which has seen unprecedented growth in the past few weeks as people prepare for a Covid Christmas".

It seems that 'Wales' is indeed the place that apparently was the birthplace of the 'Mail Order' industry and an early innovator just like the mighty 'Amazon - as mentioned in the article link in this post here

Forget the internet and delivery drivers, Pryce Jones used the superhighway of the day - the railway and parcel post.

He didn't have an app or website, but in 1861 he started delivering catalogues - thought to be the world's first mail order catalogue - of his latest fashion items, from bloomers to a three-piece suit, to his 200,000 customers around the UK and the world.

He even went so far as a purpose-built warehouse - with its own post office - next to the railway line to connect his premises to the rest of the world, making a small market town in Montgomeryshire a "major centre of international trade".

If done in the right way a magazine style catalog (not just product, but engaging content) can help keep a brand front of mind, it can assist with the consumer learning more about product & brand discovery, and it can help move consumers through additional channels - including your physical store.

Something ASOS have been doing for years.

Once you’ve created that engaging content you can then re-purpose it as part of a content led strategy on social media.

Once you really understand the ‘Superpower’ with a Social Strategy for ANY channel you will see that all options should be a key part of the retail recovery playbook - magazine style

So, does mail order fit with your plans for 2021?