As information sources proliferate, it gets harder and harder to get customers to pay attention to your marketing message, especially when they are constantly receiving messages through multiple channels. As customer attention becomes a scarcer resource, catalogers must attract and maintain customer attention by meeting their needs for information, entertainment and community.
Not only is it more difficult to keep your customers’ attention, but there are fewer barriers keeping them from buying a competitor’s product or service. All a customer has to do to change loyalty is to simply type www.yourcompetitor.com.
One reason catalogs became popular was that they were a convenient way for busy people to purchase merchandise at their leisure and from their home. Today, because of catalog co-op databases and competition from the dot-com companies, consumers are receiving too many catalogs and few have the time to sift through them all. All of the sudden, this convenient way of shopping at one’s leisure is becoming overwhelming and moving from bulky catalogs to digital pages on the Internet.
Gain Back Control by Maximizing Your Customer Relationship
How do you gain back control? By implementing customer relationship management (CRM) strategies to retain and create more interactivity with your customers. This may mean doing business a different way. For example, in the past when catalogers needed to increase their revenues, they would increase their circulation—seeking growth by mailing more.
Now, catalogers must refocus growth efforts from circulation to retention and maximization of the lifetime value of their customers. This may also mean that you must offer more convenience by selling via the Web, keep track of the stage of the relationship with your customer to better anticipate behavior, measure success in terms of lifetime value/profitability and identify customer communication preferences.
Maximizing the lifetime value of each customer requires maximizing the rate of new customer acquisition, the conversion rate of inquirers to buyers and the repeat frequency of existing buyers. Properly administered CRM strategies will help with the conversion of inquirers to buyers and increase the purchase frequency of your most valued customers. This is done by predicting individual preferences and needs well enough to be anticipatory and proactive in the delivery of the right message to the right person at the right time via the right media.