The Year in Review
Each December I like to look back to see what the year brought, what news, trends and activities may have impacted the catalog/e-commerce industry. And 2005 was another eventful year.
Mergers and acquisitions continued heating up. Kmart merged with Sears/Lands’ End. Private equity firm Bain Capital Partners bought multititle cataloger School Specialty. American Capital Strategies bought Potpourri Group. InterActive Corp. purchased Cornerstone Brands.
In some ways this could be called the Year of the Private Investor. Private equity houses discovered something we already know: The catalog/e-commerce industry is dynamic and full of rich potential. My message to those private investors: “Welcome to the table!”
I offer a hearty congratulations again to those merchants who made our Top 200 list of catalogs (see March issue), and to those who were named our Catalogers of the Year: Patrick Connolly of Williams-Sonoma, Mike Faith of Headsets.com and Marilynne Eichinger of Museum Tour (see July issue).
Also in 2005, the word “blog” came into our vocabulary. It and its derivatives, blogging and blogospheres, transitioned quickly into our lexicon. As E-commerce Insights columnist Alan Rimm-Kaufman told us in his October article, blogs, along with open content and really simple syndication, are part of a coming Web revolution. Personally, I like revolutions. Viewpoints shift, and new opportunities present themselves. You know what I mean … that rush when possibilities come flooding into your mind, and you see new pathways to profitability.
We held our breath much too often this year, watching news of the devastation from hurricanes and other disasters here and abroad. You also opened your hearts and wallets: Those in the direct marketing industry generously donated to hurricane relief efforts, we were proud to report.
Of course 2005 also may be remembered by future historians as the last gasp of cheap petroleum. The ripple effect of higher energy prices no doubt will continue to be felt throughout 2006 — as will the impending increase in postal rates. As a business owner and manager, you’ll have to adjust your strategies to accommodate these new paradigms. Please stay with Catalog Success as we help guide you through these changes. One place to start is this issue in which we offer our annual Buyers’ Resource Guide, listings of product and service providers who can help you reach new levels of profitability.