Susan Bates

Susan Bates
What Sells Where?

You’d think that writing an article addressing methodologies to determine which products to feature on a Web site vs. a print catalog would be a no-brainer, right? Web pages are unlimited; printed pages are expensive real estate. It’s easy: Just put your best-sellers in the catalog and dump everything else you have in stock on your site. How difficult can that be? Most Web sites feature the full assortment of products offered by a company, but exposure on a catalog page is a more deliberate decision. For Russ Gaitskill, president/CEO of the Garnet Hill home furnishings and apparel catalog, decisions for catalog products are based

Setting Your Goal: A Roadmap to Success

Whether you’re a large cataloger, a nonprofit or a small family-owned business, your catalog will have sales goals to achieve. The tools and methodology used may differ, but the steps necessary during the planning process don’t. The basic roadmap to success: 1. Review past product sales history of units sold, gross profit and gross margin to identify products worth selling again. 2. Review list performance and sales by customer segment to identify lists worth repeating and list categories or segments worth testing or expanding. 3. Determine the availability of inventory. 4. Investigate the availability of additional lists, list categories or segments that match your

Special Report: The Art and Science of Catalog Management

Two essential ingredients of any successful catalog business — marketing and merchandising — have artistic elements where experience, creativity and intuition count more than numbers and cold hard facts. But they also have numeric benchmarks that if ignored, can spell disaster for customer acquisition, customer retention and brand integrity. Marketing and merchandising skill sets and viewpoints are vital, and impact the bottom line. When they’re in sync with each other, the resulting catalog invariably is better than either can deliver on its own. Interaction between the two disciplines is a two-way street, rather than a linear path. There are several ways to

The Sum of Crutchfield’s Parts

New product selections for consumer electronics cataloger Crutchfield are driven by its merchandising staff, which works closely with manufacturers. Vice President of Merchandising Rick Souder and the merchandisers thrive on launching new products. Since Crutchfield deals in high-tech consumer electronics, its merchandisers are organized by product groups to gain an in-depth familiarity with a particular product category, such as televisions or car stereos. Crutchfield’s marketing department steps in to determine if these new products will appeal to its customers, and if so, how and when this product information will be communicated. “The marketing challenge is to get the word out about your products in