Creative Cut: Ross-Simons
July 1, 2000

Designers and marketers see both limitations and advantages in Web-site creative. The overarching limitation is a lack of control in the appearance of the end product because of differing technologies on consumers’ computers. On the flip side, Web sites can be altered “on the fly,” making them a more dynamic place for testing and learning about customer preferences. Deborah Kania is lead marketer at multichannel optical supplier Lens Express in Deerfield Beach, FL, co-author of “The Web Catalog Cookbook” and “The Internet World Guide to One-To-One Web Marketing,” and author of the upcoming book “” She observes, “Two of the biggest changes

Merchandise Spotlight: Down Comforters
July 1, 2000

Ooh, pretty—that’s the feeling one gets leafing through bedding catalogs. All the linens look crisp, fresh and inviting. But, from synthetic to the real stuff, nothing evokes the desire to crawl in and curl up quite like a down comforter. So it was surprising that several of the catalogs reviewed this month do not show their down comforters on a bed. And with the broad array of weights, materials and colors available for today’s down comforters, it was odd that only two catalogs of those surveyed offered the comforters in colors other than white. James Padgitt, president and chief catalog consultant of

Launching a Maternity Catalog In Print and Online
July 1, 2000

It is happening more often—an interesting reverse trend. New e-commerce companies recognizing the need to create greater awareness are producing print catalogs to help accomplish that task. Flush with Internet success, the exciting reality of creating a Web site and actually attracting visitors from everywhere who browse and buy spurs these companies to create new categories of catalogs. The Naissance maternity catalog is typical of this phenomenon. Naissance began operations two years ago as a retail maternity shop in a prestigious mall in suburban Los Angeles. The Internet site,, was developed soon afterwards. While the retail shop new business from as

Merchandise Spotlight: Cordless Phones
June 1, 2000

The 2.4 gHz Cordless Phone Means No more racing to the phone from the backyard—and It puts caller id right in the Palm of your hand Home and office telecommunications systems have come a long way in the past couple of years. With upgrades in office phone networks, voice mail and cordless phones, the evolution continues. The new 2.4 Gigahertz (GHz) cordless digital phone gets rid of many of the flaws consumers have suffered with their phone gadgetry. The phone enables people to have clear, static-free conversations without the confines of a stationary phone. With a range that allows the user to walk

E-catalog: Web Content
June 1, 2000

Reports show that editorial content best achieves Internet customer retention. Making one’s site a resource for information related to your products draws buyers back to your site when they aren’t looking to buy, and provides a sales vehicle when they are buying. Content can do everything from establish brand to build community to tap into the power of suggestive selling. Melissa Davis, director of e-commerce for R.R. Donnelley Direct (RRD), says that editorial is a good place to integrate multiple channels of retailing. RRD has created a whole division devoted to e-commerce, and in addition to providing expertise on moving from print catalogs to

Continuity Marketing: Pleasures and Pitfalls
May 1, 2000

Several years ago I went to Peter, my doctor, for a routine checkup and saw some colorful boxes on the end of the counter. Patricia, the office manager and Peter’s wife, said they were dietary supplements for people over the age of 50. “Should I get them?” I asked. “I take them and I feel wonderful,” she said. “Do you and Peter get a piece of the action?” She said she did, which I had no problem with. So I ordered LifePak Prime for my wife Peggy and myself—60 little cellophane packages, each with four horse pills to be taken twice a day with

E-mail Marketing: What Works Now
April 1, 2000

The great American author John Updike once said, “Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or doing it better.” The sentiment surely applies to e-mail marketing, and the operative words are “creative” and “better.” Catalogers stand to benefit greatly from trying more creative e-mail marketing techniques. Even if you already consider yourself an expert in this space, upping the ante to a more sophisticated, more technical solution could be a smart move. Not only could you improve response rates, but you could also automate portions of the testing process when working in this online medium. HTML vs. Text

How catalogers merchandise a once-in-a-lifetime product
January 1, 2000

Dom Perignon, on tasting the first glass of champagne ever poured, is said to have proclaimed, “I’m drinking stars.” Ever since that moment, bubbly has been on hand for most celebrations, and heaven knows it needs to be served in the proper vessel: a champagne flute. While glassware is often marked with brand names or other messages, this New Year a special opportunity presented itself. What better, and rarer, occasion than a millennium-flip to toast with champagne? Put the two together and you get Year 2000 flutes. This spotlight shows a representative sampling of the positioning strategies for flutes featuring the year

Separating Yourself From the Competition
January 1, 2000

Created on an island known for its leisurely, laid back attitude, the Black Dog Holiday Catalog is obviously an organic product of its surroundings and customers. It sells the wares of the 30-year-old Black Dog tavern and bakery of Martha’s Vineyard. The 56-page holiday catalog doubles as a monthly calendar for year-round use. Inside is Black Dog paraphernalia displayed through illustrations and customers’ personal snap shots. The book is laid out in seemingly incongruous themes, such as dogs, kids, outdoor activities and events, but is unified by the island lifestyle. Much effort goes into differentiating the 12-year-old catalog from others, but the

Personalized Web Merchandising
October 1, 1999

Instead of just repurposing copy and images, rethink your Web catalog for more effective merchandising Personalization and variable data printing are making their marks on the print catalog world, but the place where customized merchandising techniques are likely to shine is the Web. While a print catalog is static, a Web catalog is dynamic and can be generated in order to meet the needs of the customer at hand. Explains Vahe Katros, director of retail applications at Blue Martini, a San Mateo, CA-based company that creates Web merchandising software: There’s two issues to versioning catalogs: how many different merchandise assortments you can