Shipping

Paper: What Top Catalogers are Using and Why
August 1, 2002

Postage, printing, presentation: There’s a lot to consider when choosing a paper type for your catalog. Catalog Success asked some leading catalogers how they decide which type of paper to use, and how they think it impacts their sales. Michele Rick, director of customer acquisition, Crutchfield catalog Product: Consumer electronics Circulation: About 35 million catalogs mailed per year Catalog Success: What type of paper are you using now? Rick: We have two types of books. Our big book has a 144-page body with a four-page cover that prints on gravure. That uses a totally different paper than the supplements, which have a 48-page body

The Complexities of Shipping & Handling Fees
June 1, 2002

Flip to the order form of any catalog or go to the checkout of a cataloger’s Web site, and you’ll find one truth: There’s no standard for shipping and handling (S&H) fees. What a catalog charges to ship product depends on many factors, such as type of product (soft goods or hard goods) or the shipping method chosen by the customer. Others are less-than-obvious and depend on how the cataloger chooses to account for S&H in its operations. These variables make S&H a widely debated topic. According to F. Curtis Barry & Co., an operations consulting firm, about half of catalogers charge

Challenges of Multichannel Fulfillment
April 1, 2002

Richard Eaton, vice president, fulfillment services of Highlights for Children, and Tom Kirkham, senior consultant for ESYNC International, spoke to Catalog Success a few weeks before Highlights planned to go live with a new warehouse management system (WMS). Like many catalogers, Highlights for Children’s product-fulfillment operation contends with several distribution channels and myriad product types. Highlights’ in-house distribution center handles fulfillment for three divisions: - Highlights Catalog, a traditional children’s products catalog; - Highlights Jigsaw, an educational toy and book supplier offering products through home parties similar to the Tupperware model; and - a third division that sells business-to-business (b-to-b)

After the Hike: Mailing Strategies
April 1, 2002

This summer, catalogers will get hit with yet another postal rate increase. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) plans to raise rates 7.7 percent on average, with a 6.2-percent increase for catalogers who presort mailings by carrier route. So, what’s a cataloger to do? Catalog Success asked three industry veterans for their strategies on saving costs following a postal hike. Alan Rimm-Kaufman, vice president of marketing at Crutchfield catalog Q: In what ways will you save money after the postal hike? A: On mailing catalogs, the two big things are to mail to better names and to have a more efficient book. It’s really

A Fulfilling Holiday
April 1, 2001

The guarantee was to take, fulfill and ship all orders the same day for delivery the following day, right up until 3 p.m. EST on Christmas Eve. The offer was 25 roses if customers didn’t receive their orders the following day. Ashford.com, a luxury gift e-tailer, sent just 400 bouquets. Considering the volume of orders and the fact that Ashford delivered on its promise regardless of why the late delivery occurred, the number is remarkable. Ashford.com offers a wide variety of high-end products: diamonds, more than 20,000 styles of new and vintage watches, jewelry, fragrances, leather accessories, ties, scarves, sunglasses, writing instruments, home and

Merchandise: Children’s Furnishings Catch On
September 1, 2000

Kid culture is becoming the new money maker for home decor catalogers. Following on the heels of fashion retailers such as The Gap, The Limited and Talbots, which in the mid-1990s began offering children’s clothing that mirrored adult fashions, kid-sized products are now filtering into the bedroom and playroom. In the past several years, Neiman Marcus, The Company Store and Pottery Barn have all created catalogs for kids. These new catalogs are chock full of endearing offerings for kids—furniture, bedding and housewares—at adult-sized prices. Home Furnishings: Catalog Magnet According to data released in 1999 by Banc of America Securities, consumers spend an average of

Alternate Media Other Catalogers Use and Why
September 1, 2000

Producing and mailing a catalog can be a most expensive undertaking. With alternate media you can achieve some of the same goals as with a print catalog: Testing, driving customers (new or existing) to your e--commerce site and building awareness/loyalty. Speaking at the Annual Catalog Conference in June, Kevin Kotowski, of Olson Kotowski & Co. in Los Angeles, named some top reasons catalogers use alternate media, or “non-catalog pieces:” 1) cheaper prospecting than with full-sized catalog drops, since most alternate media are cheaper to produce and mail; 2) building and strengthening your customer relationships with name and product awareness; 3)

Learn to Prospect Efficiently
September 1, 2000

It costs money to add new buyers to your housefile. In fact, very few catalogers can prospect at breakeven (which we will define shortly). Therefore, new buyers are added to your housefile at an incremental loss to your bottom line. Prospecting for new buyers must be cost justified based on their lifetime value. For purposes of definition, it is important to understand the difference between a buyer and a customer. A buyer is someone who has purchased one time only. A customer has made more than one purchase. Obviously, you have to have buyers before you can have customers. While it is important to

Lifetime Value: Acquisition Costs Across Different Media
June 1, 2000

Two things are common to many database marketers. First, they can measure acquisition cost well (what it takes to turn a prospect into a customer), but they don’t employ a sound method of judging lifetime value (LTV). Second, they emphasize prospecting rather than retention/cross-selling/upselling. The combination of these two traits, measuring acquisition but not LTV and concentrating on prospecting rather than retention, often leads to profitability problems when testing new media. For a “traditional” cataloger, who sells only through direct mail and prospects only with rented lists, there can be a major difference in the long-term profitability of buyers from different sources. For

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