As technology has taught us, or drug us into the 21st century, online sales or e-commerce, and online-retail sales have grown, and grown. And why not, look at how easy it is to purchase just about anything we need.
Even appliances can be bought online.
It’s hard to get much more convenient than that. The fact is that there is very little you cannot buy online, even food. And while online sales grow and continue to offer more and more items, not everyone is online. Many older people, pensioners and the such, do not spend time on the Internet, yet they want the same convenient way to shop from home.
And years ago, before the online explosion of e-commerce, what did people do to buy things without leaving their homes….catalogues.
You will find that the majority, if not all catalogue companies now have web sites so you can order from them via the Internet, but there are still many that send out the old fashioned booklets showing all that they offer to sell.
The history of catalogue sales is a long and varied one, one that has had to change and adapt with the times, and with us as consumers, as our buying habits have changed.
And change they have, and catalogues have kept up and reinvented themselves along the way.
You can trace the history of catalogue sales back to mail order or postal order buying.
In its oldest form, you would see merchandise to be sold in the back of a paper or magazine. You would post off an order form with the items you wished to purchase, along with a cheque for the amount you were to pay, and sit back and wait for the item(s) to be delivered.
Delivery could be to your home, or to a local collection point, such as a post office or shop.
As we will see later, this form of a local collection point has become popular once again as Amazon and other online retailers, are using this form of delivery. It guarantees someone to be there to accept the package/parcel, and it also helps prevent fraud and theft.
The first use of catalogues goes back to the 17th and 18th century.
Moving forward catalogues were delivered to our homes in which we could order either by post, or we could phone the company to place an order.
Some catalogue companies began hand delivering their books of wares to our homes, and then returning to take orders, and even hand delivering the orders.
This gets labour intensive and can also be more costly to the catalogue company.
To bring the history of catalogue sales into the present day, there still are mail order companies, and catalogues delivered, but online sales is the way of the 21st century.
Argos is one type store that makes use of catalogues to this day, and in a different way.
They still produce their massive paper catalogues, but also sell via online, and you can have your purchase delivered.
The ease of which you can order and either pick-up or have an item delivered makes this a very convenient way to shop.
You can even go into their stores, check stock availability, review a catalogue, and make a purchase. You can also view an item, physically see it, prior to deciding to buy it.
Many catalogue companies offer credit and allow purchases to be made and paid for later, either monthly payments, or after a period of time (grace period) payments will begin.
This allows you to buy something you may need, but not have the cash in hand to pay for the item right away.
Since these companies are extending credit, they may do a credit history inquiry to check someone’s credit. In addition, the company may have its own lending standards and require a specific credit score or credit rating in order to qualify for their credit plan.
There are catalogue companies that are for people with poor or weak credit as well. They may extend a small credit limit of say £100 or £200 to allow someone to re-establish themselves credit wise. If these catalogue companies report to the credit bureaus, and you pay the account as agreed, this can be a way to build up your credit.
Over time the company may increase your credit limit as well.
Since these companies are extending credit, they are also going to charge interest on any unpaid balances.
These interest rates that may be charged in some instances can be quite high. And for some people, there may be cheaper and less expensive ways to borrow.
Some companies may offer an interest free period of time before any interest is charged. If it is possible to pay back the money during this time, it can save you any interest that may be incurred later.
As the companies are extending credit, it is also possible for people to find themselves over-extended and in debt. Buying through catalogues and using credit can cause someone to buy more than what they usually would if they were paying by cash.
If this were to happen, the person depending on the amount of all their total debts, does have all the options available to them with any and all of their debts.
Catalogue debt can be included in a Debt Management Plan, IVA/Individual Voluntary Arrangement, DRO/Debt Relief Order, and even Bankruptcy.
Many catalogue companies sell a wide variety of household items and clothing and jewellery, but some specialise in unique items or hard to find items.
It may be bicycle parts, tools, car parts, books, there can be a speciality catalogue or web site for it.
There are also catalogues that offer clothing in larger sizes, they cater to those that may not be able to find quality stylish clothes in their size.
A catalogue company such as Chums, while selling just about everything imaginable, from men’s and women’s clothing, to household goods, to even wheelchairs and other mobility aids, has its speciality in offering these items for an older more mature customer.
Just as our buying habits as consumers have changed over the years, so have catalogues and catalogue sales.
,As technology has taught us, or drug us into the 21st century, online sales or e-commerce, and online-retail sales have grown, and grown. And why not, look at how easy it is to purchase just about any