Web Buyers Are Changing the Catalog World — 7 Key Issues, Part 3 of 3
In the final installment of this three-part series on the analytic metrics necessary for catalogers to evaluate their multichannel businesses, this week I address some common issues that arise when managing the catalog circulation of Web buyers.
Once you begin using the four techniques to manage the circ of your Web buyers as outlined in parts one and two of this series, more business issues will likely emerge. Here are seven questions/issues that may arise when managing Web buyers in future circ plans, and tactics to help you answer them.
1. How do you identify and segment pure Web buyers? First, take all buyers who don’t match your mail file after your merge/purge process and flag them as pure Web buyers by default. Then, flag all the e-commerce flow of orders, including affiliate orders, price-comparison shopping orders, paid search orders, among others.
2. Which pure Web buyers should you optimize to find suppression opportunities? First, take all pure Web buyers, followed by one-time Web buyers, low average order buyers, Web catalog requests, holiday buyers and buyers from weak merchandise categories.
3. Should you drill down and further segment your pure Web buyers? Yes. When you have enough buyers in a category, such as price shopping engine buyers or eBay buyers, segment those buyers separately and measure how they respond.
4. What tactics do you use to circulate to pure Web buyers? Almost inevitably you lower the mailing frequency. Also, look at response when you mail holiday buyers in nonholiday seasons. Consider in-home dates closer to Christmas when mailing Web buyers during the holiday season.
5. Should all sales from a matchback be credited to the catalog? No. Start with an incremental sales test, but then develop some business rules to allocate sales between catalog, e-mail and the rest of your e-commerce programs.
6. What other metrics should you have in place to measure Web business? Two vital metrics are new-to-file buyers and buyers by channel. How many buyers you’re getting from catalog circ vs. Web marketing is critical for planning and budgeting. So measure channel shift, and know what percentage of your orders are coming through your call center vs. your Web site’s shopping cart.
7. Predict how many new buyers you’re going to acquire next year from both traditional catalog marketing and Web marketing, and the cost to acquire customers from each channel.
The Web has transformed catalog businesses into true multichannel operations. In order to survive, and profit, catalogers must measure the impact of pure Web buyers when planning catalog circ.
Jim Coogan is president of Catalog Marketing Economics, a Santa Fe, N.M.-based consulting firm focused on catalog circulation planning. You can reach him at (505) 986-9902 or firstname.lastname@example.org.