On the Web, Show Prospects You’re a Real Company; Not Simply a Fly-by-Night
These days, if you look hard enough, you can find some catalogers who can offer a nice bargain. But as we all know, by in large, catalogers have a tough time competing with retailers on price. Otherwise, it’s the product and service, stupid!
Before you even consider offering top quality service, however, you better put your customers and prospects at ease, particularly when it comes to your Web site. Assure them that they’re dealing with a reputable company they can trust. Historically, the direct marketing business — later, to be joined by the e-commerce business — has always been plagued by fly-by-nights, leaving consumers leery of doing business with all nonretail merchants.
With this in mind, I’ve developed at least two pet peeves over the years: 1. The amount of time it often takes for catalogers to send out catalogs to those who call up specifically to request them, and 2. Multichannel marketers who don’t clearly tell you who they are. I chose to tackle #2 — online — this time.
I recently sifted through some Web sites of companies that are, first and foremost, catalogers. My goal was to see how clearly they described who they were, where they were and what they were all about. I specifically targeted slightly below-the-radar companies, avoiding household names, such as Lands’ End and L.L. Bean and the like. That’s not to take anything away from the names and reputations of those I surveyed, but I felt these ones still need to educate consumers who are considering doing business with them.
Below, I rated five catalogers’ Web sites on the job they do in explaining who they are, what they’re about, where they’re located and how to contact them. And what the heck, it’s back-to-school time so I even gave each a little grade. Once you finish reading this, I encourage you to see the assorted links for yourself, click on the “Submit a Comment” link on this page and let me know if you agree or disagree — and if any other catalogers come to mind that might be worth reviewing in a next go-round.