Principles of Catalog Shopping for Retailers, Part 1 of 2
Less effective but very important retail store drivers that also result in significant direct sales are e-mails, newspaper inserts, print media, Web-sponsored links, online comparison shopping channels, infomercials and Internet banners. But while limited to the very best customers, the catalog is usually the most effective medium for creating high sales volume across all channels.
5. Assess the effectiveness of catalog contacts by using matchbacks. Understanding the difference between the channel of origin and the channel of order is a key to success. Even large and sophisticated retailers who mail catalogs get this wrong. There are several points of confusion among many.
• They believe sales coming via the phone are driven by the catalog;
• they think store traffic is a result of general marketing media; and
• they believe Internet sales come from Internet marketing efforts such as keyword buys and banner ads.
While it’s simple to allocate expenses in this straightforward manner, doing so can lead to serious marketing inefficiencies. Know how traffic in each order channel is related to specific media used. One question that must be answered is, “What percentage of catalog-generated business is coming in through the store and Web site?”
Misconceptions about what’s really driving sales have led to serious misallocations of marketing expenses — even to unnecessary company failures and bankruptcies in recent years. Use a properly structured matchback reporting system to attribute sales from all channels back to the marketing activities actually driving those sales.
The other five principles will appear in part 2 of this series in an upcoming issue of Catalog Success.
Bill Nicolai is a senior partner at LENSER, a catalog marketing agency based in San Rafael, Calif. You can reach him at (415) 446-2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.