A Renewed Focus
Multichannel shoppers have become the most sought-after customer demographic for nearly every merchant. And for good reason.
During the last holiday shopping season, tri-channel shoppers (retail, catalog and Internet) spent on average $1,028, according to a study from DoubleClick. And those who shopped in only two of those channels spent $1,100.
Moreover, it’s projected that by 2007, Web sites will account for 42 percent of catalogers’ total sales vs. 29 percent in 2003, according to a study from The Direct Marketing Association.
Clearly, a multichannel focus is the new norm for catalogers. In that vein, we here at Catalog Success have added a new tagline to our publication: “Your Partner in Multichannel Commerce.” Our aim has been, and will continue to be, to hunt down meaty and practical advice that can help you boost sales, improve efficiency and gain greater profits — no matter what channel you’re selling in.
Our cover story this month is a good example of this renewed focus. It highlights Golfsmith, a marketer that is smartly leveraging a tri-channel approach to selling golf-related merchandise. Key employees within each sales channel meet regularly to align their sales and promotional activities. The result of these and other initiatives is a company perfectly poised for impressive growth.
Also this month you’ll read how three merchants are using virtual catalogs to increase average order values and conversion rates; leverage their e-mail databases; test and refine offers and much more. Unlike static Web pages, virtual catalogs look almost exactly like real catalogs on a customer’s computer screen, thereby offering the comfortable and intuitive shopping experience people enjoy when browsing a print catalog. One merchant has seen a several-hundred percent return on investment on his virtual catalog. See “The Paperless Catalog Comes of Age.”
To be sure, the cataloging landscape has been changing over the years. And so have customers’ expectations of you. The Internet has conditioned today’s shoppers to summarily expect a breathtaking array of product choices, fast answers to their questions, reasonable prices, trackable orders and quick (if not free) delivery. Susan McIntyre examines the new customer dynamic in her column this month: “Want to Put Customers to Work for You? Don’t Do It!” Her thesis: The work imperative is on your end, not your customers’.