Flyers are frustrated with the FAA's in-flight rules that keep them from accessing their e-readers, shopping apps and emails during takeoff and landing. There's one company that's much more focused on reaching flyers once they get off the plane, however. The quirky, always-present SkyMall catalog tucked into airplanes’ seat-back pockets has transitioned from an in-flight catalog launched in 1989 to a thriving e-commerce site with $80.5 million in revenue in 2009. The majority of SkyMall's sales are now completed online.
Q: "Our catalogs tend to be crammed with photos and descriptions. How do I demonstrate to upper management the value of design elements, white space and larger photos per spread?" — Angela Sanchez, creative director, NLC Products
There's more to obtaining print bids than price. Printer lead times should be part of the mix. For example, when mail tapes and creative files are due to the printer should be considered. The shorter the deadline when mail files are due to the printer the better. This enables catalogers to include more recent buyers in the mailing.
With the help of The Dingley Press, we conducted a study to determine how many catalogs it prints that still include some type of order form. We found that almost half of our fairly large sample size have no inside ink-jet or order form insert, but they do have an order form printed on-page in the catalog. Another 18.5 percent use a bind-in order form. In summary, 71.5 percent of the catalogs we surveyed use an order form; only 28.5 percent have eliminated the order form entirely.
The printed catalog is the main driver of traffic to the web. However, with all of the other touchpoints available to consumers today, how do we really know the impact of catalog mailings on web sales? And why do we give so much credit to the print catalog? There are a few reasons why, and they include the following:
The printed catalog is the main driver of traffic to the web. However, with all of the other touchpoints available to consumers today, how do we really know the impact of catalog mailings on web sales? And why do we give so much credit to the print catalog? There are a few reasons why:
When deciding on a printer, most retailers focus on print manufacturing, paper and distribution (i.e., co-mail, freight and postage) costs. However, there's more to obtaining print bids than price. Printer lead times (i.e., the schedule) are also an important consideration. For example, the dates mail tapes and creative files are due to a printer shouldn't be assumed or taken for granted because they vary greatly. While this may not be a direct cost, long lead times from your printer can affect your sales and bottom line.
Will catalog response improve over time to rented prospecting names based on sending the same prospect multiple catalogs? The answer is no. Lots of catalogers mail the same prospecting universe of names multiple times, so there's quite a bit of data out there on the results of multiple catalog mailings to the same households. The most typical response to mailing the same profitable universe of rented names multiple times is that the list either responds the same time after time or the list shows a softening in response as buyers are culled from the list.
In its search for another customer engagement vehicle, Brahmin realized that one of its existing assets, its print catalog, could be reinvented to better serve today's digitally connected shoppers. It only made sense to put some of the beautiful product photography taken during Brahmin's catalog shoots to work online as well rather than just using it in the pages of its print book.
After starting as a catalog company in 1998, Soft Surroundings has grown rapidly, with sales surging about 30 percent last year to about $150 million, according to the company. Last year, it doubled its number of stores to 10 nationwide. In August, private equity firm Brentwood Associates took a majority interest — 55 percent — in the company in a $150 million deal. With the new partner's resources and expertise, Soft Surroundings is looking to grow its retail footprint. Four or five stores are slated to open this year, and many more may be on the horizon.