L-com, my company, is a B-to-B multichannel marketer of a wide range of connectivity and wireless products, based in North Andover, Mass. Our catalogs and Web sites are packed with highly technical business products; therefore, we pay very close attention to sales and profits by product, page, category and channel.
Determines Categories’ Fates
Other catalogers use squinch to help determine how much to expand or contract a merchandise category, as Gina Valentino, owner and president of the Kansas City, Mo.-based catalog consultancy Hemisphere Marketing, points out. “If the data shows all of the products in the category are profitable, then the category has potential to expand its merchandise offering.”
Like many of the reports catalogers depend on, it’s easier today than ever to do a squinch report. Whether you’re a multichannel, multititle conglomerate or a mom-and-pop shop with a catalog, you should be able to build your own squinch analysis. And if you still can’t, there are many tools and individuals to assist you. Although squinch analysis is mainly used on printed catalog pages, there also are efforts underway to develop an application for online measurement.
Every cataloging metric from “back in the day” has found its 21st century analytical counterpart, from response analysis to sales-and-inventory forecasting of multiple demand curves, points out Ken Lane, founder and president of Hathaway & Lane Direct, a Litchfield, Conn.-based consultancy whose specialty is supporting small- to medium-sized catalogers with circulation and direct marketing analytics. “In a multichannel world, squinch analysis is a must-have in your marketing department,” Lane says. “And the concept of a product paying for its space does translate from paper to cyberspace.”
Front, Back Cover Selection
Valentino’s catalog clients use squinch to determine which categories or items should be placed on the front and back covers. Squinch analysis also alerts them to the best-selling price points. That helps her clients objectively select products to consider for the back cover, she points out.