Key Statistics B-to-B Catalogers Ought to Know
The attraction of the business-to-government (B-to-G) market for B-to-B catalogers is rising. Though some catalogers have experienced little success, others have had tremendous growth in this market even without those hard-to-come-by government contracts. The two keys are education and perseverance.
All levels of government (federal, state, local, school districts) buy every type of legitimate business product or service imaginable. Over the years, many catalogers that have grown successful government-business units have done so even without a government contract. Some of these mailers are very significant players in their respective niches. Consider the following stats and factors:
1. GSA SmartPay program. Formerly the IMPAC program, the GSA SmartPay credit card is a Visa or MasterCard used by federal employees for small purchases. Until recently, the “micro-purchase” threshold (the level at which a card could be used for any business-related purchase — even from vendors with no contracts) was $2,500. That level recently was raised to $3,000.
For B-to-B catalogers, this means that if your catalog reaches a federal office, you have every chance of getting orders for up to $2,999.99 and being paid immediately via credit card.
Research I’ve conducted over the past 15 years with more than 100 B-to-B catalogs shows that the average order size from a federal buyer averages 15 to 20 percent more than a traditional B-to-B order.
The fiscal year 2007 year-to-date statistics for the SmartPay program are as follows:
* Total spent year to date is 3.5 percent ahead of last year. If this holds, I predict sales of $18.4 billion, up by roughly 3 percent;
* The total number of transactions is down by more than 40,000 per month over the previous fiscal year;
* The number of cardholders is down 7,000 over the same time last year; and
* The average order size is up to $759.23, up almost $60 over the previous fiscal year.