International Catalog Mix Adaptation: An Empirical Study

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Journal of Global Marketing

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Striking the right balance of adaptation of the international catalog mix may be the key to profitability. U.S. catalog firms, new to international markets, have less experience in adapting than firms in more globalized industries. The literature on international marketing strategy adaptation reveals that this decision depends on the environment, industry, market, product, and characteristics of the firm. This paper examines the influence of market similarity, type of business and the firm's international experience on international catalog adaptation, and explores the effects of catalog adaptation on a firm's performance. We hypothesize that the greater the market similarity, the less likely it is that firms will adjust their catalog. We also argue than adaptation is greater for consumer catalogs than for business-to-business catalogs. A third hypothesis is that more internationally experienced firms will adapt more and a final hypothesis is that a greater degree of adaptation will increase the international catalog performance. The results did not support the association of international catalog adjustment and market similarity, experience, and type of catalog. Findings are mixed both on catalog adaptations and firm performance. We found that some but not all adaptations in the catalog lead to improved performance. We speculate that U.S. catalog firms are making adaptations to reduce the costs of international marketing operations. This cost reduction strategy may not necessarily lead to profitability, thereby discouraging other firms from entering international markets.


Journal of Global Marketing, Vol. 11, No. 2 (1997): 65-92. DOI.