Catalogs Drive Multichannel Sales
Only 43 percent of sales attributed to catalog mailings were recorded at catalog call centers, according to the “2004 Abacus Annual Catalog Industry Trend Report.” Of the remaining catalog-driven sales to existing customers, 33 percent were recorded on Web sites and 24 percent in retail stores.
These customers are more familiar with the brand and therefore more likely to trust and take advantage of additional sales channels, said Abacus analysts.
The study also showed the shift from call centers to Web sites is increasing. Thirty-two percent of direct sales from multichannel merchants were conducted online in 2003, up from 28 percent in 2002. Trends indicate this channel shift will continue, with a strong likelihood that Web sales will pass call center sales in the next 18 to 24 months, said Abacus executives. This underscores the importance of accurately measuring all sales generated by catalog mailings in conjunction with search, affiliate and e-mail campaigns, they noted.
The Abacus report also shows a 1.4 percent increase in overall catalog and Web site sales from 2002 to 2003. The number of households making purchases and the number of transactions also rose during this period, contributing to the higher sales. This effect was offset, however, by a slight decline in average order size from $99 to $98.
“The Changing Role of the Catalog for Multichannel Retailers,” a study sponsored by DoubleClick, showed that executives from more than 30 multichannel retailers, including Williams-Sonoma, REI and J.C. Penney, believe the industry’s future lies in developing catalog creative and merchandising that targets multichannel shoppers. Targeting catalog drops to take advantage of proven multichannel shoppers and high-value customer segments has proven to be highly effective, noted DoubleClick.