7 Ways to Improve E-Mail Deliverability

A recent whitepaper from the e-mail marketing firm StrongMail, called Mastering Your Email Reputation: Seven Strategies for Improving Deliverability, provides tips to multichannel marketers looking to improve the effectiveness of their e-mail campaigns. Among others, the whitepaper lays out best practices to improve sender reputation to protect against e-mails being filtered or blocked by Internet service providers (ISPs), preventing them from reaching consumers’ inboxes. Here’s a look at the whitepaper’s seven strategies. 1. Maintain a clean list. Sending to bad addresses not only skews response rates, it’s a core metric ISPs use to determine sender reputation, the whitepaper notes. To maintain a clean list,

Marketing Tips to Spread the Holiday Cheer (and Profits)

A recent webinar from the e-commerce site search, navigation and merchandising solution provider Mercado, led by the company’s director of worldwide merchandising consulting, Michael Klein, provided several tips to help multichannel merchants prepare for their busiest time of the year, the holidays. Here are some takeaway pointers Klein doled out. * Identify your top 20. This includes your top 20 products and keywords and the top 20 percent of your customers, Klein said. Then develop a promotional campaign around that top 20, with targeted e-mails and landing pages. * Test and analyze keywords and null results. For null results, Klein advised offering product alternatives

New! Online-Only Preview of September Cover Story

In the upcoming September issue of Catalog Success, our cover story spotlights Hodges Badge Co., a Portsmouth, R.I.-based B-to-B cataloger of ribbons, rosettes, medals and more. As a sneak preview to that article, here’s a portion of Senior Associate Editor Joe Keenan’s interview with Rick Hodges, president of Hodges Badge, on myriad topics that aren’t addressed in the print edition. Be sure to see the full article coming out next week, which contains a fresh look at how Hodges Badge has used a catalog format change, a new creative approach and some experienced talent to spur growth in its 89th year of business. Catalog

How to Boost Sales Through Cross-Selling and Upselling, Part 2 of 2

This week in the second of this two-part series on using cross-selling and upselling techniques to boost online sales, we continue our coverage of Michael Dell’ Arciprete’s presentation from the eTail East 2008 conference in Washington, D.C. This part lists several tactics the vice president of marketing for the online coffee retailer Boca Java advised the audience to avoid when attempting to cross-sell or upsell products online. (For part 1, click here.) 1. Too many cross-sell items. Confusion reigns and placements become random when you try to cross-sell too many products at one time, Dell’ Arciprete warned. 2. Don’t talk over the customer. “Don’t

7 Ways to Leverage E-Mail as a Real-Time Marketing Tool

E-mail’s potential and complexities are seemingly endless, according to Morgan Stewart, director of strategic services for the e-mail marketing firm ExactTarget. In a presentation he gave at last week’s eTail East 2008 conference in Washington, D.C., Stewart offered a number of pointers on how to make e-mail work in real time as a marketing tool. Here are the seven most noteworthy takeaway tips. 1. Use e-mail to turn a potentially negative out-of-stock experience into a positive. Include a callout when you’re out of stock for a particular product to have customers notified via e-mail when the item is back in stock. This helps accomplish

How Best Buy Keeps Its Customers Happy

In a presentation at last week’s eTail East 2008 conference in Washington, D.C., Barry Judge, chief marketing officer for the consumer electronics giant Best Buy, presented five concepts his company strives to accomplish to ensure its customers have an enjoyable shopping experience, no matter the channel. 1. Make sure the customer knows all that we know. Examples of this include Best Buy publishing the return rates for all of the products it sells, publishing service rates for personal computers, among others, Judge said. 2. Deliver an experience that adds value. Be sure to deliver on all of your promises, Judge advised. 3. Blow the

How to Boost Sales Through Cross-Selling and Upselling, Part 1 of 2

As customer acquisition costs continue to rise, be it catalog mailings or other techniques, many marketers have turned to optimizing performance from existing customers as a way to limit costs while improving sales, namely through cross-selling and upselling. In a presentation at the eTail 2008 East conference in Washington, D.C., last week, Michael Dell’ Arciprete, vice president of marketing for Boca Java, an online coffee retailer, rattled off a number of best practices to help online marketers boost sales through cross-selling and upselling. (Note: This is part one of a two-part series on this presentation. Check back next week for Dell’ Arciprete’s tips on

5 Tips to Building an Effective Google Adwords Campaign

A recent whitepaper from the search engine optimization and marketing firm MoreVisibility, 10 Critical Elements to a Successful Google Adwords Campaign, provides tips for multichannel merchants to help them realize the full potential, and profitability, of a properly managed Google Adwords account. Here are five pointers to take away from the report. 1. Keep your campaigns and ad groups tightly themed. Keep your campaigns and ad groups as relevant to your business as possible. Without tightly themed ad groups, you run the risk of Google not being able to determine the context of your groups, the whitepaper cautions. This results in Google misinterpreting

How the Catalog Fits Into the USPS’ Future

Simply put, the U.S. Postal Service can’t afford to have catalog businesses continue to go under. Consider the following: * catalog postage accounted for approximately $3 billion in revenue for the USPS in its 2007 fiscal year, 4 percent of its total revenue; * 21 percent of all priority mail revenue is catalog- or Internet-purchased merchandise; and * catalog transactions generate reply mail between companies and their customers, thus increasing volume for the USPS. With the USPS recognizing this fact, it’s begun to shift its practices toward creating a partnership with catalog mailers, in the hopes of securing profitable futures for both

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

In a presentation at the inaugural National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum in Arlington, Va., on June 26-27, hosted by the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA), Senior Vice President of Customer Relations for the USPS Steve Kearney (and the former vice president of pricing and classification) said that although postal rates won’t decrease in the future, there’s a silver lining for the 70-plus in attendance — mostly catalog marketers: A special prospecting rate specifically for catalog mailers is a possibility. After much prodding from the audience, led in particular by Lawrence Davis, vice president of marketing at Ross-Simons Jewelers, and Chris Bradley, president

How CDW Delivers on the Back End

Doug Eckrote, senior vice president of operations for the technology products and service provider CDW, provided a blueprint to how CDW — which had $8.1 billion in annual sales last year — handles its product distribution in a session at the recent Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. Competition=Savings With the abundance of freight options available (FedEx, UPS, DHL, USPS), CDW contracts with them all, Eckrote said, to get customers the best rate. The company’s Web site lists every shipping choice for customers after a purchase, with pricing included. Invariably, customers select the lowest price, Eckrote noted. “If a carrier raises its prices,

How to Product Source Like a Big Guy

Marc Joseph, president of Dollar Days International (, whose company’s Web site offers wholesale and closeout products to multichannel merchants, outlined several ways that small and midsize merchants can compete against the big-box retailers, particularly when dealing with product vendors, at the recent Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. Here are some of his takeaway tips from the session. 1. On dealing with vendors: * deal/negotiate with the right people; * don’t give a bottom-line price right away; give yourself some negotiating room, he said; * don’t be afraid to say no; and * be honest and ethical. 2. On buying product:

6 Steps to a Successful Web Site Redesign — How PBS Did It

As a company best known for its videos and call-in television programs, PBS decided it needed to upgrade its Web site if it had visions of success in a future dominated by multichannel organizations. The nonprofit network did have an e-commerce site, but it wasn’t very effective. It was out-of-date, text-heavy and hard to navigate. A redesign was in order. In a session at last week’s Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, Andrea Downing, PBS’s vice president of home entertainment and partnerships, disclosed the company’s six-step process to its successful Web site redesign. 1. Take the time to plan. Noting that

J.C. Penney Looks to the Web for Future Growth

In his keynote address at the 2008 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago last week, Mike Boylson, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of J.C. Penney, discussed his company’s evolution and how the Web has become central to its growth mission. With a $1.4 billion marketing budget, Penney certainly intends to fund its Web development generously. “It’s becoming an economic necessity to transform the marketing initiative to the digital space,” Boylson said, noting the rising costs involved with mailing catalogs. This isn’t to say that Penney has abandoned the catalog as a marketing channel. It’s just scaling back. And the message being

7 Tips to Make Your Merchandise Stand Out

As one cataloger I recently interviewed called it, “terminal sameness” is the phenomenon of all catalogs blending together to look the same, particularly when it comes to product offerings. At the recent ACCM conference, a panel of catalogers led a session to help their peers break out of the mold with their merchandise assortments and avoid the “me too” syndrome. The panelists, Emily Harris, product manager of the spa and massage division of the Scrip Cos., parent firm of the Lotus Touch catalog; Jane Schmotzer, director of product development for the Christian Tools of Affirmation catalog; and Geoff van Sonsbeeck, co-founder and owner