Teambuilding: Some Assembly Required
September 20, 2005

Have you ever had a team that just didn’t gel? Team members spent more time fighting and finger-pointing than getting the job done, right? Many managers spend precious time refereeing team members when they should be focusing on more productive and profitable endeavors. Why do some team members simply not get along? One reason could be that managers seek a certain type of team member(s) who are just like themselves, when instead they should aim for a mix of types. For example, a toolbox with only one type of screwdriver would be of limited use around the house. Rather, you’d need different types of

Data Analysis: Improve Earnings and Profits With Effective Data Analysis
September 13, 2005

Effective analysis of your customer data can improve earnings, profits and satisfaction, but the process must be unique to your organization. Measuring for success begins with the knowledge that quality data analysis provides a map from the past to the future. Consider the following tips: ¥ Identify your best customers by profitability and contribution. Some customers are excellent revenue generators while others are beneficial for inventory liquidation. Both are valuable to your organization as long as the marketing costs do not exceed the benefits. ¥ Profile individual buying patterns so your marketing department can target customers when they are most likely to buy. This

Executive Focus: Help Your Business Weather a Disaster
September 6, 2005

With the hurricane season getting an early and intense start, I can’t help but be reminded about the devastation from last year’s storms. Even if you don’t live in a hurricane zone, read the disaster preparedness tips below, because disasters in all forms (e.g., earthquakes, terrorist attacks) can strike at a moment’s notice. Moreover, natural disasters in other parts of the country can greatly affect your business. Devise some measures in your company to assure the continuity of your business in times of emergency. Most importantly, always have a plan B. Last year one of my clients was out of business for an entire week

A Chat With David Isham, president/CEO, National Roper’s Supply
September 1, 2005

© Profile of Success, Catalog Success magazine, September 2005 Catalog Success: When was the catalog established? David Isham: We mailed our first catalog in the fall of 1994. CS: Where are your headquarters? Isham: Decatur, Texas, a small town about 30 miles from the Dallas/Ft.Worth metroplex. CS: How do you describe your primary merchandise? Isham: Saddles, tack and western wear for the serious equine enthusiast. CS: What are your primary customer demographics? Isham: Active horse people around the country. Our catalog is the official catalog of the U.S. Team Roping Association and the U.S. Calf Roping Association. Our catalog was designed originally to be

Harness the Power of Strength-Based Strategic Planning
August 1, 2005

Employees have more confidence to envision the future when they carry forward the best practices of the past. Here’s how you can help them do that. Strategic planning enables you as a leader in your catalog company to identify long-term goals and mobilize your group’s resources to achieve sustainable results. Strategic planning also can be a powerful tool to identify and communicate your company’s core operating values and aspirations. However, all too often, strategic planning can be a frustrating exercise that offers little long-term impact or meaning for the average employee. How can you ensure that your planning efforts are effective, energizing

Catalogers of the Year
July 1, 2005

On the following pages you’ll meet the winners of the fourth annual Catalogers of the Year awards. We’re honored to recognize the contributions these three professionals have made to the catalog and e-commerce industries. This year’s winners exemplify the astounding level of quality in branding, customer service and merchandising this industry enjoys. The winners include: 1. a former museum director who now sells museum shop-quality educational toys to a national audience via her catalog; 2. a transplanted Briton who has built a thriving company selling telephony equipment; and 3. an industry veteran whose reputation as a maverick in branding, direct marketing and channel-integration

Key Performance Indicators: 10 to Track.
June 1, 2005

What key performance indicators (KPIs) are critical to a catalog business? What can you learn from tracking them? And how can you make changes and implement improvements based on your results? In this article you’ll learn about 10 KPIs that are critical to any catalog business. KPIs vary by catalog, as each has specific objectives and needs. You may have a KPI of, for example, the gross margin ratio, contribution ratio or net income — whichever best reflect your company’s goals. When selecting KPIs, choose ones that are quantifiable and therefore can be tracked. For example, a KPI to improve customer service can’t be

Studies in Cost-Cutting
June 1, 2005

The U.S. economy registered slower growth and higher prices in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department. Gross domestic product rose at an annual pace of 3.1 percent, the slowest quarter in two years, and down from 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, the feds announced in April. Moreover, looking ahead, the news does not appear to get much brighter. For example, the National Retail Federation anticipates slowing retail sales this year, increasing only 4.8 percent, down from 7 percent growth in 2004. Many economists blame rising energy costs for the slowing economic growth. What’s a merchant to do?

Redcats’ Brand Revival
May 1, 2005

The name Brylane traditionally has been synonymous with deliberate sales growth and budget-priced, conservative clothing primarily for middle-aged, large-sized women. But when the Paris-based Redcats, the home-shopping division of French company PPR, bought the multititle cataloger in 1998, it set out to apply a broader, more aggressive — call it “worldlier” — merchandising and marketing formula to Brylane. Fast forward seven years, and although the sales growth has yet to take off, notable transformations in the merchandising and marketing approach, corporate structure and company culture all have kicked in. Two of the New York-based company’s top executives — Chairman/CEO Eric Faintreny

Contact Centers: How to Boost Contact Center Operations
April 12, 2005

Want tips on improving your contact center’s employee application and recognition programs? At the National Conference on Operations and Fulfillment, held in Grapevine, Texas, last week, several contact center experts offered their advice during the session”60 Ideas in 60 Minutes: Contact Center/Customer Service.” Here are three of their tips: ¥ Be sure you have a motivational fit: “When interviewing contact center applicants, tell them what the job actually will be like,” said Penny Reynolds, founding partner of The Call Center School, a Nashville, Tenn.-based company that offers contact center education. “Make sure they understand they won’t be getting a corner office, they’ll be tied to