Crate & Barrel Creates Sellable Stories, Shoppable Content & Pin-Ready Spreads

Debbie Williams

Written by Debbie Williams on Wed, Jan 30, 2013

Create&BarrelCoverWhile looking at the new Crate & Barrel catalogue, I couldn’t help but notice something was new about it, and as a content marketer I was pretty excited.  The home furnishing retailer has embarked on a new approach to its catalogue and taken its content quite literally off the table, and hopefully into your living room. The January “Inspiration” book  offers shoppable lifestyle stories, Pin-able spreads and integrated online content that elevates its catalogue to a whole new level.

Selling Stories

The pages of the January 2013 Crate & Barrel catalogue aren’t segmented by room, but by slice of life vignettes from a Hollywood award party to an intimate dinner date or snow day by the fire with friends.  Each story subtly incorporates the brand’s furniture and home décor pieces in a Pinterest-like fashion. You can just see the images on Pinned on boards titled “Oscar Party” or “Dream House” with captions like “Yes please!”. 


Digital Experiences

Crate & Barrel ensures the story doesn’t end when you close the catalogue online or off. Whether you buy a table or wine glasses, or not, they can still be a part of your party with free digital content experiences like a customized iTunes playlists, Paperless Post invites, a Scrabble app and Tapeulator, an app that helps you hang artwork or arrange furniture.


The digital version of the catalogue features tagged products in photos that link directly to an overview or right to the product page to find out more or buy. The Crate & Barrel website features Inspiration pages of these capsule stories such as Winner&Is, Snowed&In and Us&Always, depicted in the brand’s signature font and ampersand, with even more pictures, recipes and ideas.

These stories are part of a bigger multi-media campaign aimed at developing more meaningful relationships with consumers through the celebration of everyday moments. The campaign also marks the brand’s 50th anniversary. 

To be honest, I loved this new approach, and it really spoke to the shopper in me. I’m a fan of the brand anyway, but now I'm especially looking forward to seeing what other content they will deliver in my mailbox and inbox in the coming months (and what other freebies they’ll entice me with). I also can’t wait to see if other retailers take inspiration from this and the new wave of multi-layered content marketing experiences that results. 

What other brands have you noticed that are telling shoppable, interactive stories with their content? We’d love to know more!

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