The Editor’s Take: A Multifaceted Transition
The more I examine the whole catalog-to-multichannel transition, the more I realize how very much it remains a work in progress for both B-to-C and B-to-B catalogers. There are still plenty more phases ahead.
Last month, this was certainly top-of-mind when we held a free Catalog Success webinar called The Coordinated Sell - Redefined for 2009 & Beyond. Our Strategy columnist Stephen R. Lett and Creative Irish Gifts catalog Vice President Rob O’Connor both gave excellent presentations. If you missed it, I invite you to go to our Web site and click on the “Webinars” tab toward the top of our homepage for a complete replay. It’ll be available through the middle of December.
Here’s a brief, Reader’s Digest-type recap: Rob gave some insight into how taxing it is on him and his company to ensure they’re maximizing sales in all channels. Steve addressed the many issues catalogers/multichannel merchants have to keep refining, such as customer behavior, matchback practices and the whole RFM equation.
Catalog consultant Sarah Fletcher recently pointed out to me other key factors marketers should keep in mind when making proper adjustments to the multichannel world. Catalogs, she noted, “are a separate animal from the Internet and other channels because catalogs are order drivers, not order takers.” She raised a couple issues:
1. Is a sale made when customers decide to make a purchase, or when they pay for it?
2. Searching the Web for food gifts would be daunting and rather hit or miss. But if a food catalog had recently arrived, and you were looking for a food gift, there’s a good chance that that catalog would get the sale
As Sarah suggests, figuring out where the sale is made shouldn’t be confused with where the order is taken. Because the Web is so much cheaper than catalogs, multichannel merchants “can be tempted to embrace the false logic that if most of the purchases are made online, then that’s the channel making the sale.”