The Bombay Company’s Winning Formula
November 1, 2004

Furniture and home accessories multichannel merchant The Bombay Company has made aggressive strides into e-mail marketing during the past two years. The results have been worth the effort, says Matt Corey, vice president of marketing and e-commerce. The Bombay Company has 650,000 opt-in names on its e-mail list and successfully integrates its campaigns with those of its retail, catalog and e-commerce channels. Donna Loyle, editor in chief of Catalog Success, asked Corey to share the secrets of his success in e-mail marketing. Catalog Success: What mechanisms did you use to go from 20,000 opt-in, or registered, e-mail names to 650,000 in only two

Get More Conversions
October 1, 2004

Aaron Montgomery Ward mailed the first catalog in 1872, and catalogers have been working to perfect the art of selling from the printed page ever since. By now, savvy catalogers understand the factors needed for effective print design, including cover imagery, page count, product density, copy, typography, color, paper, trim, etc. The Web, in contrast, is in its infancy. The graphical Internet dates back only to 1991. Leading online firms (e.g., Yahoo!, Amazon, eBay, Google) are no more than 10 years old. It isn’t surprising, then, that many catalogers have more experience creating strong print pages than Web pages. This article offers four suggestions

Case Study: E-commerce Blooms at Bloomingdale’s By Mail
September 1, 2004

Problem: Bloomingdale’s By Mail catalog didn’t have an e-commerce counterpart in 2002. Solution: The company put its print catalogs online and improved e-mail marketing efforts a year later. Results: Business increased fourfold in one year, and Bloomingdale’s online sales channel has grown to more than 20 percent of its overall business. In early 2002, Bloomingdale’s executives realized they needed to expand their e-commerce capabilities. “At the time, the company’s site merely was a store marketing Web site,” explains Charlie Silver, vice president of marketing at Bloomingdale’s By Mail. The company initially set up a catalog quick-order function on its Web site. The only

A Healthy Sign
September 1, 2004

A bit of interesting news crossed my desk the other day. Three-quarters of the CEOs of fast-growth companies see the recent economic upturn lasting for another two to three years, according to a survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). While that’s good news, most of the 392 executives who responded to the survey are proceeding with caution, managing with a planning cycle of one year or less. “Although most have a hopeful outlook, they continue to plan using a cautious, short-term approach,” noted David VanEgmond of PWC. Given the volatility of the last few years, I’ll gladly take the “cautious optimism” results as a

Check Out the Web’s Hidden Treasures
September 1, 2004

The World Wide Web is full of hidden treasures for direct marketers. The trick simply is knowing where these interesting spots can be found. For this article, I asked catalogers and e-tailers for their suggestions of lesser-known online resources, information sources and new ideas related to e-commerce. The resulting list is somewhat eclectic. Hopefully, it will trigger a new idea and help with your Web marketing. DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS DNS Stuff, www.dnsstuff.com/ Ever encounter something odd such as a well-known site disappears, an e-mail to a good address bounces or a customer says your site is down when it isn’t? Often the problem stems

The Paperless Catalog Comes of Age
August 1, 2004

Truly effective multichannel marketing is an ongoing challenge for most catalogers. Ultimately, you want to deliver consistent customer experiences across all your sales channels, right? Although there isn’t one formula for success, there are a growing number of multichannel commerce tools that can help you achieve that goal. One such tool is a virtual catalog, defined by Chicago-based the e-tailing group as an almost exact replica of your print catalog integrated by varying degrees into your Web site, as opposed to a simple menu of products. By using a virtual catalog, customers can experience the aesthetics of a print catalog as well as

Golfsmith’s Course of Action: Focus on Multichannel Commerce
August 1, 2004

From the moment you pull into the 40-acre Golfsmith campus in Austin, Texas, you know you’re in a golfers’ mecca. But as it turns out, the company’s on-site driving range and golf academy are just the beginning. Inside the 92,000 square-foot corporate headquarters, there’s a putting green for employees, and a large retail store complete with indoor waterfall and Clubhouse Café. The clubmaking workshop not only crafts custom-made clubs, it also holds weeklong classes for those who want to learn the art. A research and development team is developing clubs and testing vendor-sourced products. Enlarged pictures capturing golf imagery hang over the

Master the Multichannel Tango
June 1, 2004

The blunt truth is that multichannel retailing is hard. Running a catalog business is a demanding mix of direct marketing skill and retailing savvy. Add in significant Web and store sales, and the complexity rises to a higher level. Successful multichannel direct marketing is a three-step dance: serving customers across channels, tracking customers across those channels and marketing efficiently within them all. Following are some suggestions that can help. Serving Customers “Multichannel” is a retailer — not a customer — concept. Customers view your brand as a unified whole, regardless of where and how they deal with you. They expect a seamless

Harmonize Your Sales Strategies
May 1, 2004

Today’s multichannel merchants continually are searching for viable channel-integration solutions — a seamless blend across the key points of customer interaction, including catalogs, Web sites, retail stores and kiosks. “Providing seamless integration communicates a consistent message to consumers and results in higher transaction values,” note the authors of the LakeWest Group’s Fifth Annual POS Benchmarking Survey 2004. But as most catalogers will tell you, achieving that seamless blend across all sales channels is more difficult than it appears to be. Following are a few tactics that can help you make the most of all of your channel-integration intiatives. 1. Take advantage

Masters of Reinvention
May 1, 2004

Paul Fredrick Sacher is one of the five premier catalog merchants of menswear — primarily dress shirts, neckties and cufflinks. If he had 100,000 customers like Franklin Watts, he would be in hog heaven. Frank Watts was a hard drinking, wildly irreverent and funny traveling book salesman who founded a children’s publishing company in 1945 that bears his name today. The son of a Baptist minister, Watts once said that from his earliest boyhood he was made to wear a shirt and tie every day to be presentable in case a parishioner came to the rectory. All of his life, the only time Watts