Strategy: Colour Me Canadian
Abacus Canada could be an excellent source of prospect names. Members must contribute their Canadian customer transaction information to the Alliance as a condition of participation. You must have housefile names to contribute in order to select names from the database. Unlike its catalog-only database in the United States, the Abacus Canada co-op is open to all consumer direct mailers, including catalogers, publishers, continuity mailers, retailers, etc. Prospect names selected from Abacus Canada rent for $95/M (compared with $70/M for names from its U.S. database).
Doing business in Canada can be expensive. Canada Post Borderfree can facilitate Canadian orders for U.S. catalogers by managing customs and duty issues as well as handling delivery and returns of packages. Postage and list costs are higher in Canada. For example, a catalog that costs 24 cents to mail in the United States (after postal discounts) will cost about 55 cents to mail in Canada. Canada Post, the privately held, government-sanctioned Canadian postal system, does offer some volume discounts for mailing into Canada, albeit mostly for direct mail pieces. List costs run about 20 percent to 50 percent higher in Canada as well. Much of the additional costs can be offset by higher response rates.
Tips to get started in Canada:
• Contact a list broker and determine the market size for your particular merchandise offer. There are universe limitations in Canada.
• Contact Canada Post to determine your mailing and catalog distribution costs.
• Review your plans with your printer.
Stephen R. Lett is president of catalog consulting firm Lett Direct Inc. Reach him at (302) 537-0375 or via his Web site: www.lettdirect.com.