Gardening by catalog
Gardeners love their catalogs.
The splash of color in the mailbox is always an invitation to daydream. And a reminder to place your order.
However, Randy Schultz, a spokesman for the Mailorder Gardening Association, says most of us don't place our order through the catalog's 800 number. And we certainly don't mail them in.
We go to the company's Web site instead.
A survey by the group in 2006 showed that consumers who buy plants, seeds, bulbs, tools and other gardening products from mailorder catalogs were increasingly going on line for information AND to place their orders.
At that time, about 34 percent of customers placed their order by phone, 33 percent by mail or fax. In 2006, 14 percent were "pure" web shoppers and 18 percent looked at a catalog and then placed their orders on line. That was a total of 32 percent of orders placed on line.
"To give you an idea of how fast things are changing," said Shultz. "I did a straw poll of MGA members last spring and found out that 2008 was the first year that a majority of orders (over 50 percent) placed with member companies came in via the Web sites."
Even so, printed catalogs are not going away, Shultz said. "They are still what drives most on line buyers to the Web sites where they place their orders."
The catalogs are just a reminder to do so.