Studies in Cost-Cutting
The U.S. economy registered slower growth and higher prices in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department.
Gross domestic product rose at an annual pace of 3.1 percent, the slowest quarter in two years, and down from 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, the feds announced in April.
Moreover, looking ahead, the news does not appear to get much brighter. For example, the National Retail Federation anticipates slowing retail sales this year, increasing only 4.8 percent, down from 7 percent growth in 2004. Many economists blame rising energy costs for the slowing economic growth.
What’s a merchant to do? Cut costs.
This month, we bring you three case studies of catalogers who’ve reduced expenses in their fulfillment operations. Seta Corp., parent company of Palm Beach Jewelry catalog, reduced its labor fulfillment costs by 45 percent. It made the cuts while also instituting a staff incentive program that enabled employees to actually increase their average hourly wages. For more on Seta’s savvy tactics, see “Cost-Cutting Done Right.”
Shindigz/Stumps, the party and prom supplies multititle cataloger, put its parcel shipping business up for bid and cut its costs by 27 percent. And it did so while retaining flexibility in its product shipping options offered to customers. See “Drop Those Rates.”.
Finally, Omaha Steaks’ order fraud prevention program is saving the company about $1 million annually. See “Freezing Out Fraudsters.” (not available online)
In this issue, you’ll also hear from four catalog art and production pros who share with you their triumphs and challenges in producing catalogs today. See “Catalogers Streamline the Print Workflow.”
Each month, turn to Catalog Success, your “how-to” magazine for multichannel commerce, to arm yourself with practical strategies you can use in this uncertain economy. After nearly seven years of serving the industry, Catalog Success remains firmly committed to helping you strengthen and grow your multichannel business. And we can assist you with all aspects of your business, including marketing and prospecting, contact centers, e-commerce, print and production, staffing, creative, technology, merchandising, circulation, as well as operations and fulfillment.