Web Buyers Are Changing the Catalog World, Part 1 of 3
In the first part of a three-part series on the analytic measurements necessary for catalogers to understand their multichannel businesses, this week I outline four tactics to help marketers manage their Web buyers and look at why managing these buyers is so critical to their success.
Face it: The Internet age for catalogers is here to stay. The impact of Web buyers on catalogers’ operations continues to grow. Web-created demand and online order-taking continue to increase. The issue for catalogers is how to calculate the impact of Web buyers and drill down and understand how best to circulate to these customers. The Web has transformed the catalog world. Most every catalog has an ever-increasing proportion of Web buyers.
The following four keys have emerged for managing catalogs’ Web buyers.
1. Segmenting buyers by channel of purchase, so that in addition to RFM (recency frequency monetary), a fourth segmentation is added. Channel segments should include traditional call-center buyers, multichannel buyers, catalog-driven Web buyers and pure Web buyers.
2. The use of matchbacks to replace source codes lost when orders from your catalog are taken via your Web site’s shopping cart.
3. Optimizing Web buyers by modeling them at your co-op database to find those who aren’t strong mail order households and won’t respond profitably to a follow-up stream of catalogs.
4. Testing true incremental sales when you put a catalog in a buyer’s mailbox: A measurement of what percentage of your sales are coming via the catalog vs. what percentage of your demand is coming from the cumulative impact of all your other Web marketing and brand-building activities.
Why are these four tactics to managing your Web buyers so important?
The Web serves two business functions for a catalog business: an order channel and a means to create demand. Nearly all catalogs use a Web site as a channel to take orders. Shopping carts are becoming the preferred method for consumers to place orders, replacing call centers and mail-ins. The Web isn’t only a convenient channel to place orders, though. The e-commerce channel is also an engine to create demand.
A significant distinction exists between buyers whose demand was created by the arrival of a catalog in the mail and who simply placed their orders on the Web vs. those buyers whose demand was created solely by e-commerce (paid or natural search, affiliate programs, outbound e-mails, comparison shopping engines, among others).
This demand was created on the Web, and the order was placed in a shopping cart on the Web. These are “pure Web” customers, whose demand was created on the Web and didn’t come as a result of receiving your catalog.
In part two of this three-part series, I’ll provide tips on how to effectively manage catalog circulation when factoring in Web buyers.
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 email@example.com.