Managing The Flood Of Web Buyers, Part 1
In the first of a four-part series assessing the ever-increasing number of Web buyers, I’ll focus on what this trend has meant for catalog circulation.
It’s no secret that the rules of catalog circulation have changed. Catalogers need to understand how Web buyers are affecting the dynamics of catalog circulation and what changes to their own circ planning are needed to ensure the best results possible within the new rules of the game.
There are four keys tactics to managing the flood of Web buyers. Employing these tactics will help you gain control of catalog circulation. They include:
1. Segmenting your buyers by channel and RFM;
2. Optimizing your Web buyers at a co-op database to find the households that respond to catalogs;
3. Using matchbacks to measure true response to mailings; and
4. Testing incremental sales from Web buyer segments to measure sales and breakeven from Web buyers.
Distinguish from Two Types of Web Buyers
Not enough circulation planners distinguish between the two kinds of Web buyers: pure Web buyers and catalog-driven Web buyers. Pure Web buyers come from Web traffic and haven’t received a catalog from you. Catalog-driven Web buyers received your catalog and simply placed their order using your Web site. For pure Web buyers, the demand was created on the Web and the order was taken on the Web. As for catalog-driven Web buyers, the demand was created by your catalog and the order was taken at your shopping cart.
They’re very different kinds of Web buyers, so don’t combine them when you’re segmenting your housefile.
Catalog-driven Web buyers respond like traditional call center or mail order buyers. They have similar response rates and demographics, and can be mailed at about the same frequency as your traditional mail order buyers.
Pure Web buyers are likely to be very different than your legacy mail order buyers. Their response rates and average orders tend to be less. Their order curve doesn’t last as long. You should mail them less frequently.