Print-Plus: Long Live the Order Form
A bind-in order form creates a "hot spot" in the center of a catalog. Therefore, catalog marketers position their best-selling products in the center of the book. What's more, bind-in order forms cause catalogs to feel more substantial to recipients, as they add to the total page count and weight of the book. Bind-in order forms also prove to be more user friendly when it comes to encouraging gift orders because of the number of "Ship to" spaces normally available on them. For catalog retailers who process a large percentage of gift orders, I suggest thinking twice before giving up on the bind-in order form.
Test First, Then Act
The effectiveness of using an order form — bind-in or printed-on-page — should be tested before it's simply eliminated. It's easy to set up an A/B split test (i.e., bind-in order form vs. no order form). You could also do a three-way A/B/C split test — bind-in order form vs. printed-on-page order form vs. no order form. The "control" is whatever you're currently doing. Let the actual results guide your decision. Don't drop your order form just because 5 percent or less of your orders are received by mail.
Impact of Co-Mail on Ink-Jetting
As mentioned earlier, less than 10 percent of the catalog companies we surveyed ink-jet an order form inside their catalog. Offline co-mail programs have reduced inside ink-jetting because catalogs cannot be ink-jetted inside once they've been bound. This shouldn't be an issue, however, since less than 60 percent of all catalog orders cannot be traced to a specific key code on the front end, mainly due to orders being placed online. This has resulted in the use of matchbacks, the process of matching order files back to source codes on the back end in order to know which list and/or marketing channel to give credit to. Prior to the internet, it was common for catalog merchants to be able to trace 80 percent of their orders to a specific source code when the order was taken.