Is Bad Economic News Affecting Your Catalog Sales?
What can you do if you see softness in your sales? Try the following:
* Determine if you should deepen your promotion strategy. Start promotions earlier, offer deeper discounts, add ink-jet messages with promotions, and increase the frequency and promotional messages of your e-mails.
* Examine your planned merchandise purchases to ensure your purchasing department buys according to the most accurate forecast of future sales. Cut back the items on order if necessary.
* Look at your head count of employees for your holiday ramp-up and match your personnel needs to your fourth quarter sales projections.
* Cut costs if sales are softening.
* Accurately project sales for the fourth quarter. Recalibrate sales now, and use your sales projections to make changes in your fourth quarter business.
* Watch your competitors as they react with more aggressive promotions, and determine if you need to follow their lead in ramping up your promotions.
* Watch the price-comparison engines to see if you’re staying competitive on branded items.
Knowledge is power, so start with an accurate sales forecast based on how your own sales are affected by economic news. You may be surprised. Lots of catalogers are staying strong, and the speculation is that the high price of gas will cause consumers to shift toward more buying from catalogs.
Jim Coogan is president of Catalog Marketing Economics, a Santa Fe, N.M.-based consulting firm focused on catalog circulation planning. You can reach him at (505) 986-9902 or email@example.com.