Can Database Marketing Work for Catalogers? (1,457 words)
u Cross-selling can work on the Web, but only if accompanied by personalization and collaborative filtering. The goal is to make the Web so effective that the cross-sales rate is equal to or better than that achieved by a telesales agent.
One of the best examples of personalization is GUS, the largest cataloger in England. It traditionally gets a 20-percent cross-sale rate (one out of five people are sold something extra beyond what they ordered when they make a call.) It used collaborative filtering software from NetPerceptions, and was able to increase its cross-sale rate to 40 percent.
The Web is best as an ordering device, not a selling device. A typical sale taken by a telemarketer costs $6.50. The same sale over the Web costs less than $0.10. Forget about Web surfers, and concentrate on catalog shoppers. Get them to use the catalog and order on the Web.
Arthur Middleton Hughes is vice president for strategic planning of msdbm (www.msdbm.com), which maintains databases and Web sites. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.