Principles of Catalog Shopping for Retailers, Part 1 of 2
Many retailers are finding catalogs to be an important adjunct to their retail businesses. They realize that once they’ve obtained customers, the catalog mailing is an effective way to bind those customers to their brands and expand awareness of their products.
In the first of a two-part series targeted at multichannel merchants who have significant retail businesses, below are five of the 10 key principles to augment your retail/multichannel program with catalogs and the Web.
1. Exploit the phenomenon of multichannel lift. Mailing a catalog delivers sales in its own right while increasing the value of customers who originate in the store or on your Web site.
After first buying from the store or online, customers with catalog-driven purchases show about twice the subsequent lifetime value of those with single-channel buying histories. This is for buyers with otherwise identical purchase histories, where the only difference is whether more than one channel was used.
2. Be channel agnostic — unsilo your company. The key to effective catalog marketing for multichannel retailers is to make sure the catalog program is structured to serve customers’ interests.
All customer communication should encourage them to communicate with, and purchase from, the company in whatever manner best suits that customer at that particular time.
To achieve that end, the following are vital:
• Web site addresses and store locations should be prominently shown in the catalog;
• the retail store should be able to place online orders for customers while they’re at the cash register if items are unavailable; and
• a “live person” order number should be visible on every Web page.
Too many companies set up reporting and control structures that artificially divide their operations into different divisions or silos — usually store, Internet and catalog. Such a structure is often tied to management assessments or bonus programs. But this never works out and inevitably leads to bad marketing decisions.