A Chat With January's Profile, Brendan Edgerton, vice president of direct marketing, Crutchfield Co. (Text & Audio)
Catalog Success: Where are the headquarters of Crutchfield located?
Brendan Edgerton: Crutchfield is in Charlottesville, Va., which is just a little bit outside D.C. Kind of equidistant between D.C. and Richmond. Headquartered and founded here, ever since Bill [Crutchfield] started the company back in ’74.
CS: Were catalogs part of the business right from its founding?
BE: Yes, 1974 represents the founding of the company as well as our initial humble beginnings in catalog mailing. I think we went out the door with 5,000 books. And as Bill will retell, it was the start and almost the failing of the company in one fell swoop. The low response rate to that initial mailing stimulated him then reaching back out to customers and asking them directly: “What worked about this and what didn't?” And based on that feedback and that willingness on his part to go right back out to the market and understand how it worked out, they gave him enough feedback that his second mailing actually worked out. And the business kind of took off from there; but at its core, it's always been a catalog marketing company which has grown into a couple of retail stores here in Virginia, and then obviously a world-class Web experience as well.
CS: How many retail locations does Crutchfield have?
BE: There are two retail stores — one here in downtown Charlottesville and another over in Harrisonburg, Va. In addition to the two retail stores, the Web site came online in 1995.
CS: How do sales breakdown between the three channels?
BE: Catalog-generated sales are a little over 50 percent, and that represents about 45 percent of our order volume. So you can obviously see a higher AOV via that channel. The Web has grown to be the lion's share of inbound orders as an order-taking channel, but the catalog-generated sales are still hanging in there at about 50 percent.