The End of Paper Catalogs?


The auto parts business was built on catalogs. Every parts counter in every parts store had giant racks of paper catalogs containing information about every car from the model T forward. Parts pros would pour over these books or disappear to a hidden book case and return with your query solved. When I was young and learning my trade, I was amazed at the details contained in these books and the ease with which the old timers navigated them. Everything I needed to know was at my fingertips if I could learn how to use the books.

Today an actual catalog rack is a rare find. Information moves much more quickly today making printed material outdated almost as soon as it is printed. We now rely heavily on electronic catalog information.

This information shift is challenges us also in reaching our customers. Consumers are flooded with shopping options and incredible amounts of material to navigate. In our store we struggle to represent all of the goods and materials we are able to provide. Although we do have printed catalogs available our best method is electronic. 1000's of pages of products are linked on our web site. Making all of that information useful for our customers is a huge task. The days of the paper catalog have gone and I'm not convinced that's a good thing.