How to Determine Appropriate Page Counts
Increasing the page count from 48 to 56 pages yields 16.7 percent more selling space and only a 5.6-percent increase in costs. Based on the catalog print specifications, in-the-mail costs increase from $413/M for the 48-page book to only $436/M for the 56-page version. The break-even point for the additional pages is extremely low.
The cost per page for the 48-page book is $8,604. The cost per page on the 56-page catalog is $7,786 or about 10 percent less. The cost per page for those additional eight pages is only $2,875 per page!
Assuming a gross margin of 55 percent and a return rate of 6 percent, the break-even point for the additional eight pages is only $5,867 per page. This compares with a per-page breakeven of $17,559 for the base 48. In this case, adding pages makes economic sense - period.
The chart "Catalog Economics" details the total cost per thousand and the cost per page for the five page-count combinations shown. The chart also shows the percent increases in selling space and costs using the 48-page catalog as a base for comparison. For example, going to a 64-page book (from 48 pages) increases the amount of selling space by 33 percent at a cost increase of only 13 percent. Again, the economics are in favor of adding pages.
In catalog merchandising, it's important to know the average price offered (APO) and average price sold (APS) of the products being offered. If, for example, the APS is $31, this would indicate that this particular catalog is selling a lot of items in the range of $10 to $30.
Too much selling space may be allocated to higher-ticket items that may not be turning as quickly. This catalog has an opportunity to add more items in the $30-to-$45 price-point range to increase the revenue per catalog mailed.