Circ Planning for Next Season: 13 Key Questions to Ask, Part 2
In the final part of this two-part series on catalog circulation planning and the issues/problems to watch for, this week I provide points seven through 13 to consider before finalizing your circ plans.
(For part 1 with points one through six, click here.)
7. What are the circ alternatives along the spectrum of scenarios ranging from no growth in circ to maximum, prudent growth in circ? And circ scenarios in between? What’s the business model for maximizing profitability rather than maximizing circ? Catalogers should always look at an alternative plan that maximizes profits. Sometimes prospecting for new customers must be sacrificed for short-term profits.
8. What are the implications on your merchandise commitments with increased sales? What happens if you over- or under-order merchandise? If your merchandise supply is limited or requires long lead times, understand the implications of sales growth on your needs to order, pay for and keep merchandise in stock. There’s no value in creating demand that can’t be fulfilled.
9. How’s your infrastructure and staff affected by an increase in sales? How much growth can your organization support, digest and maximize potential with each customer? How much growth can your organization support?
10. How do you manage your housefile of buyers? Can you mail them more frequently and get additional growth and profitability from the increased promotion to your existing buyers? Your housefile of buyers is your most important asset. Setting the optimal mailing frequency for your buyers is a critical, and often overlooked, key to maximizing profits.
11. How should the housefile be pruned for nonresponsive buyers? What tools are available to increase the profitability of housefile/buyer mailings, particularly eliminating older buyers and inquiries who won’t respond? Or have moved? Knowing which buyer segments to mail requires disciplined testing, using holdout panels to measure the incremental sales of catalog mailings.