Reflections From the Fall NEMOA Conference
His daughter, Lynda Swann Smith, who’s run the company ever since, literally brought the house down in accepting the award. She brought several family members with her for the occasion, and the manner in which she memorialized Eddie; his eternal optimism; his overwhelming success; and his incredible impact on his family, friends, company and the catalog business was unforgettable.
More Than Cost Cutting
The NEMOA organizers also recognize how very tough the selling conditions are right now. For instance, rather than just focusing on cost cutting, board member Russ Gaitskill from the Garnet Hill catalog led a “town meeting” session with consultants Ted Pamperin, George Mollo and Will Von Klemperer. The discussion featured myriad ways to cut costs while building up the bottom line.
Line by line in a P&L statement model, they went through cancellations and sold-out products, returns, cost of goods sold, advertising expenses, fulfillment, net shipping expenses, operating expenses, general and administrative expenses, and other income.
As Gaitskill pointed out, there’s no one customer contact strategy anymore, adding that his company’s doing a lot of testing on various strategies.
Garnet Hill has made significant reductions in page counts with virtually no impact on response. “We have this philosophy that everyone who should receive a catalog should get it,” he said. “So we sought to reduce costs by reducing page counts. When looking at how to cut pages, it may be a great time for one category, but not for another,” suggesting that not all product categories work 12 months a year — a prime target for page trimming.
As for merchandising, especially in today’s environment when consumers don’t need much reason to avoid spending money, if you give them too many choices, their propensity to buy goes down, Mollo said.
And among multichannel merchants’ greatest opportunities for impact is negotiating with vendors, Pamperin said.