How SkyMall Is Trying to Avoid Sears' Fate
Catalog battles mobile devices for passengers' attention
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 4, 2014 10:03 AM CDT
Skymall needs to "evolve," says its CEO.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – SkyMall isn't exactly flying high these days. Between May and September of last year, the iconic in-flight catalog lost $3.2 million, and the Los Angeles Times has one explanation: While the catalog still reaches 600 million flyers yearly thanks to the seat-back pocket, that audience is no longer "captive," the paper notes. While passengers once had little else to turn to for entertainment, travelers can increasingly use their devices in-flight—and analysts say the company needs to step up its game if it wants to avoid the fate of the Sears catalog. SkyMall's CEO, Kevin Weiss, agrees: "Like everything else, we have to evolve," he says.

The company is getting a $2.5 million technological facelift, the Times reports. It will improve its website and offer catalogs with items that readers can purchase by scanning them with their phones. Another issue, says a retail consultant, is a need to vary its product selection. "How many elevated pet food bowls do I need?" he asks. But SkyMall doesn't plan to stop selling what it likes to call "the coolest stuff on the planet." Future items could include a toddler-friendly "shoulder saddle" for parents or beach pillows that hide beer. "We want people to look through the catalog and say, 'Oh, my God, why didn't I think of that?'" says a product manager.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
May 6, 2014 7:13 AM CDT
How could they lose $3,200,000? You meant they actually have that garbage listed in there sitting in a warehouse somewhere? I thought it was all just for laughs.
May 6, 2014 2:30 AM CDT
SkyMall by and large, is the preserve of those whose wealth is conspicuous.
May 4, 2014 9:03 PM CDT
I always check their offerings. Absolutely nothing I am interested in. I agree with the other comments here, needless frills, terribly overpriced, and nothing that a 'normal' person would be interested in at all.