Print-Plus: Printing Money
Approximately 60 percent of consumer catalog sales and 55 percent of total orders generated annually are received during the holiday season (October through December), according to data we compiled at Lett Direct, Inc. This three-month period represents all or most of the profit for catalogers during the year. Therefore, it's critical to make certain your business is hitting on all cylinders during the busy holiday season.
You'll want to maximize contribution to profit and overhead from all channels. Think as a multichannel marketer, taking full advantage of web and catalog initiatives (not the web or catalog). It's not a matter of trading selling expense dollars, but rather making certain the dollars being spent generate a positive incremental contribution to profit and overhead.
Recognize the importance of prospecting. I always tell our customers that you want to go fishing when the fish are biting. New buyers are the lifeblood of any business, and response rates will be maximized during the holiday season. Be sure to maintain your 12-month buyer count. At minimum, replace the buyer count lost to attrition. If you desire to grow, then focus on increasing your 12-month buyer count. If the size of your 12-month buyer count increases 10 percent, your sales will increase by approximately the same percentage. When prospecting, be sure to maintain the proper balance between circulation to the housefile vs. to prospects. And consider lifetime value when investing to acquire new buyers. Take a longer view on the payback of that investment.
Let's take a look at an annual catalog circulation survey done by Lett Direct comparing 2014 to 2013 (see chart below). This data is from 100 different consumer catalog companies.
Note that 32 percent of respondents plan to increase catalog circulation this year. Approximately 55 percent plan to keep circulation about the same, while only 13 percent plan to decrease circulation (compared with 17 percent last year). Catalogers recognize the importance of mailing catalogs. The catalog is the biggest driver of traffic to the web.