E-Commerce Insights: Use Online Testing to Increase Print Catalog Response Rates
This article assumes that insights gained from Web testing lead to effective print catalog presentations. That is our “Big Assumption.” If you disagree, skip to the next article. No hard feelings; see you next month.
Still reading? Good. There are two decent reasons to accept this Big Assumption.
First, the Web is so prevalent that the demographics of Web shoppers are pretty much the same as the demographics of all direct shoppers, making the Big Assumption reasonable.
Second, the Web offers catalogers their first chance to do real testing. While many catalogers think they’ve been testing for years, they really haven’t been able to do so effectively. In-the-mail testing is too slow. It’s also inflexible and expensive.
All of that makes the Big Assumption attractive.
What You Can Learn
Accepting the Big Assump-tion, here are five starter ideas on using online testing to improve your catalog:
1. Use online testing to determine which element of your unique selling proposition is most powerful. Suppose your firm offers fair prices; cheap, fast shipping; a liberal return policy; great phone support and decades of experience. All well and good. But which of these is most effective at getting prospects to buy? Web testing can answer that quickly and inexpensively.
2. Use online testing to determine product breadth. Should you sell the single best product in each product category? Should you present a three-level, good/better/best selection in each category? Or should you sell every SKU your merchants can source? This is a big question with big implications and different answers for every retailer. You can use online testing to run head-to-head tests of product selection. If tests across different categories yield similar results, you can take those insights back to your paper pagination.
3. Use online testing to develop taglines and copy for your “hero” products. I know at least two best-selling authors who used online testing to pick the best titles for their books: Tim Ferriss, “The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich”; and Ian Ayres, “Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart.”