After faltering at the starting block, online procurement might have found the magic combination to finally make businesses sit up and notice: indirect buying. And PC giant Dell Computer is leading the pack. Businesses have resisted online buying services until indirect e-procurement arrived on the scene mostly because open buying was slow and perceived as less-than-secure. E--procurement is the purchasing of support goods and services through an online, private customized catalog. The catalog contains products a company is interested in, and has approved for employee purchase, as well as a company’s negotiated pricing. According to AMR Research, the worldwide market
Attempting to market across multiple channels, catalogers have been using myriad marketing methods to drive sales to particular channels and across channels. While the promotions can be effective, they are hard to track. Netcentives, a loyalty and e-mail marketing solutions company, is offering catalogers a new way of following customers’ buying habits, creating more effective marketing campaigns and encouraging multi-channel shopping with its program Retail Rewards. Customers join Retail Rewards by registering their credit card with their favorite catalogers to receive rewards for their purchases in any channel. Catalogers who join the program create a customer credit card registration page on their sites.
In the early 1990s I gave a talk to the Minneapolis Direct Marketing Club. On the way to the airport, my old and dear friend Kathy detoured to let me prowl the vaunted Mall of America, that gloriously glitzy testament to the shop-’til-you-drop mentality: the largest indoor mall in the world, complete with an amusement park in the center. As we passed the jewelry department of Nordstrom, I spied a ring in the window that seemed right for my wife, Peggy. We went inside and were greeted by a sales clerk named Janice, who sold me the ring. Later that day I presented
Finding fresh sources of names to mail has always challenged catalogers. Lately, it’s become more competitive as catalogs all seem to mail into a finite universe of buyers. But catalog list brokers say they’re having some success helping their clients break new ground using tools from non-catalog compiled lists and publication files. Not only is the Internet a research tool for mailers and brokers, but it also is a developing source of new names. Read on for insights into the state of the catalog list market from five list professionals: • Steve Mickolajczyk, president, Brokerage Division, Catalyst Direct Marketing; • Donna
Lillian Vernon began selling personalized belts and handbags with a black and white ad 50 years ago. Now, the company offers more than 6,000 items through nine catalog titles and a growing Web business What do Katie Couric, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hillary Clinton all have in common? It’s not their political affiliations. Think porcelain Easter baskets and personalized bean bag chairs. Now you get the picture: These celebrities are among the 23 million people who have shopped the pages of Lillian Vernon’s catalogs. The namesake business Lillian Vernon launched in 1951 on the kitchen table of her small, Mount Vernon, NY, apartment has
Congratulations, catalogers! We’ve won the battle against the “pure play” e-tailers. We all said they couldn’t last, and now they are dropping quicker than power lines in a Wisconsin ice storm. At the same time, catalogers have brought to the Internet channel all of the great assets we knew we had. Merchandising, graphics and copy capability, systems and fulfillment. The results are in, and the catalog business is migrating successfully to the Internet more quickly than any other type of business. With all the great new Internet business for catalogers shown in the chart below, shouldn’t we be experiencing the best of times?
Just four years ago, selling to the United States government was easy. That was the first time I saw a memo from a CFO establishing guidelines for online purchases using government issued credit cards. Those guidelines were short and sweet: (a) the Web site must offer secure purchasing; and (b) buyers should purchase from known vendors. That was it! During the past several years, things have gotten noticeably more complex. In that time, I have been monitoring vendor Web sites and government list servers and consulted with some notables in the industry. As a result, I have evolved a list of Web “basics”
Lands’ End has launched six international e-commerce sites within a period of 12 months. “We view international as a growth opportunity for Lands’ End,” says Sam Taylor, the company’s vice president of international. He explains the cataloger’s goal is to create a global brand. The company’s new approach is to expand internationally via the Internet. It chose Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom—the three largest e-commerce markets outside the United States—as the first trio of launches. These also happened to be the three international markets in which the cataloger already had a print catalog and the infrastructure to support a Web site. An e-commerce
Just before I sat down to write this, The New York Times reported the death of yet another beloved—albeit little known—boutique institution, Gorsart Clothes. The downtown Manhattan men’s clothier had served the Wall Street community since 1921. In the words of Times writer Sherri Day, The last straw may have been the advent of casual Fridays—and Thursdays and Wednesdays—which eliminated much of the need for the crisply tailored suit and the power tie. Where Gorsart was unable to change with the times, another great New York men’s clothier, Barney’s, changed too much—only to be taken over by its creditors in 1996. Founded in
It began on the Lands’ End Web site as a high-tech variant of paper dolls. Now, 3-D models are a popular feature of many online catalogs, including J.C. Penney, Eddie Bauer and The Sharper Image. The 3-D model enables shoppers to configure an electronic, rotating mannequin that resembles themselves. Everything from face shape to waist measurement to hairstyle is changeable. The model is designed to help consumers make apparel decisions by showing how a garment fits, falls and flatters. It also shows how a garment will work with particular hair and eye colors. Most of the sites with online models offer a complementary