New! Online-Only Preview of September Cover Story
In the upcoming September issue of Catalog Success, our cover story spotlights Hodges Badge Co., a Portsmouth, R.I.-based B-to-B cataloger of ribbons, rosettes, medals and more. As a sneak preview to that article, here’s a portion of Senior Associate Editor Joe Keenan’s interview with Rick Hodges, president of Hodges Badge, on myriad topics that aren’t addressed in the print edition. Be sure to see the full article coming out next week, which contains a fresh look at how Hodges Badge has used a catalog format change, a new creative approach and some experienced talent to spur growth in its 89th year of business.
Catalog Success: What is Hodges’ sales breakdown by channel?
Rick Hodges: Seventy percent of the orders are still coming over the telephone; the Web site accounts for a little more than 10 percent, and about 7 percent of people are e-mailing their orders in. And like everybody else in the industry, we have huge problems tying back. It’s not really the abandoned shopping carts, because we think we’ve got a good handle on the abandoned cart. It’s how many of the people who are calling us on the telephone did the bulk of their research on the Web site before they picked up the phone?
Anecdotally, I think it’s high. It used to take us an average of two calls to get an order. We’re down to just over one. In the old days, the thing you heard from the call-center reps was, “All I ever get is questions.” Now they [customers] seem to be getting their questions answered online, or in the catalog, before they call. But we’re not mailing vastly higher numbers of catalogs, so my guess is they’re getting them [answers to their questions] online. We’re somewhere around 300 visits a day online, with the average visitor looking at almost 17 pages and hanging around for seven-and-a-half minutes. So I don’t know how those compare with industry statistics, but if I can get anybody to look at 16 pages on my site before they leave, I think they’re fairly interested.