A Redesign Revitalizes Alsto's
January 1, 2004

By Noelle Buoncristiano Problem: Alsto's wanted to change the focus of its catalog to more effectively display its products and increase sales. Solution: It hired a creative agency to redesign the catalog. Results: The sales increase has been in the double digits; average order value is up more than 10 percent; and returns have been reduced. Until 2000, Alsto's catalog was regarded as a "handy helper," comprised of practical tools and directed mainly toward men. Over the years, various agencies tried their hands at producing the catalog for Alsto's. But consumer interest wasn't growing, so Richard Jacobsohn, managing consultant at Alsto's, along

Bind-In Order Forms-What's the Best Strategy? (2,000 words)
May 5, 2001

By Stephen Lett Alsto's. The Company Store. Garnet Hill. Martha By Mail. Williamsburg. Pottery Barn. Frontgate. Good Catalog. The Land of Nod. Linen & Lace. Restoration Hardware. Ross-Simons. Sundance. What do these catalogs have in common? They have all eliminated the use of a separate bind-in order form with envelope typically found in the center of a catalog. These catalog companies employ a lot of smart people, so why would they make the decision to discontinue using a bind-in order form with envelope? What was their thought process? What should you do? This month, we will review the order form in detail

Merchandise Spotlight: Aqua Golf
August 1, 1999

IN SUMMERTIME, two activities that come to mind when the weather grows warm are taking a dip in the pool and heading out to the golf course. A surprising product found in seven (count ‘em!) catalogs this season that pairs these diverse pastimes is Aqua Golf. Aqua Golf consists of an artificial turf and foam island, a chipping mat, 12 velcro-covered, floatable plastic golf balls and a pin. Using their own clubs, golfers aim their shots to land Velcro wiffle balls onto the floating green. This game simulates the thrill of the challenging over-the-water shot on the golf course. These Catalogs

Profile on Plow & Hearth--Reaping What You Sow (2,623 words)
February 1, 1999

When Peter and Peggy Rice founded the Plow & Hearth catalog in an outbuilding on their Virginia farm in 1981, their inspiration was the back-to-basics movement. Nearly 20 years later, the country philosophy remains, but the back-roads mail order business is anything but backwards. Its adoption of a high-tech database in the mid '90s has led to quick, efficient growth through sophisticated modeling, which in turn engendered a home-furnishings catalog spin-off and a highly successful upselling program. Now Plow & Hearth's dual commitment to direct marketing basics and use of cutting-edge technology is allowing the founders to reap what they've sown. In April