Who Needs Print, You Say?
PATIENT: Doc, almost all our orders used to come through the call center. Now 75 percent come via our Web site. We’re ready to give up on our catalog and go Web-only. Is that a good idea?
CATALOG DOCTOR: To keep your Web business healthy, I advise keeping your catalog. You’ll be surprised how much the catalog drives both sales and profits. It’s probably the primary driver of Web site orders.
PATIENT: But how can I know for sure? I need to be able to justify an ongoing investment in the catalog.
CATALOG DOCTOR: Let’s look at four different ways to learn how your catalog drives sales to your Web site.
1. Chart Web sales vs. catalog mailings.
At every catalog company I’ve seen, Web sales spike sharply when a catalog drops. Just graph Web sales over time and add all your mailing events along the time line. You’ll almost inevitably see that Web orders surge around your catalog’s in-home date.
2. Use your Web analytics tools.
Check your Web analytics to see how many customers are using the “catalog quick shop” to purchase. If they’re typing an SKU number into the quick shop, they have your catalog in their hands. Then look at those customers’ conversion rates. You’ll likely find that quick-shop lookers convert to purchasers at much higher rates than other Web users.
Also look at which products Web shoppers are buying. Are they buying items featured on your most recent catalog’s covers or opening spread? As many as 60 percent of Web orders may include products that were featured in the catalog.
3. Do a matchback.
I hope you do matchbacks. But remarkably, more than half of the multichannel marketers surveyed in the January 2008 Catalog Success Latest Trends Report said they still don’t. If you’re one of them, you should know that a matchback is where you take all the orders that arrived without a legal key code and match back the names on those orders to the names on the catalog mail tapes for the same period. For most catalogers, 50 percent to 80 percent of Web orders come from folks who’ve recently received printed catalogs.