Welcome to Retail Online Integration's annual Resource Guide. This special section offers all the crucial details, company information, contact numbers and addresses of product and service providers to the cross-channel retail industry.
Altman Dedicated Direct
Whether you want to grow your business or maintain your database size as customers age out, prospecting is a challenge every successful cross-channel retailer needs to master. For some, buying lists and using paid search are the beginning and end of their prospecting efforts. But many eventually realize that to grow their businesses — and combat limited list universes and increasingly competitive paid search pricing — they need to look at expanding further into multichannel prospecting.
“Alternative prospecting strategies” almost seems like an oxymoron. The lines between traditional and alternative prospecting approaches have blurred — today all marketing is driven by multichannel consumers. So let’s define “alternative” as media other than mailing print catalogs to rented lists or paid search. Yes, we need to lump in paid search with traditional print mailings because search has become mainstream and is no longer considered an “alternative.” But what’s a cataloger to do if, as Marc Coan, owner of Made in New Mexico, points out, you want to come up with another way to prospect? “We have the infrastructure in place,” he notes.
Having a hard time finalizing your 2008 contact strategy? You’re not alone. The mission hasn’t changed: You want to develop the most efficient way to convert prospects into first-time buyers and first-time buyers into repeat customers. But piece together the rapid pace of technological change, the volatile economy, the ongoing migration and evolution from phone to Web ordering, then add the likely distraction of the presidential election throughout the year, and it can make any marketer feel like throwing in the towel in bewilderment. Realistically, there are only three ways to proactively convert known prospects to buyers and one-time buyers to repeat buyers:
Few catalog/multichannel merchants include inserts in their prospecting or retention media plans, a fact that continues to baffle those who use inserts profitably. Most catalogers use bounceback catalogs as a kind of retention insert (though most don’t think of them as inserts). Few consider the strategic value of inserts to their retention rates, not to mention prospecting media mix. But there are countless other strategic benefits of including inserts in your prospecting. The assorted retention plans that can help you achieve overall business goals are worth looking into. Consider the strategic value of inserts for prospecting and retention separately. Strategic Prospecting Benefits 1. Inserts are an
Imagine copying the names of doctors and lawyers from the phone book and mailing them a crude, black-and-white catalog. John Figi, founder of gift food cataloger Figi’s, did just this —and was rewarded with a response in excess of 10 percent! That was in the 1940s, when Americans were starved for retail options. Fast-forward to 2007. Companies have more than 20 square feet of retail space per capita. Customers and prospects have thousands of Web sites from which to order, as well as about 10 to 20 catalogs delivered weekly. Naturally, it’s small wonder that prospecting response rates are declining. So, just what techniques
What better way for a tips-oriented business magazine to wind down 2006 than with the top 50 tips of the year? My staff and I spent the past several weeks going through every article that’s run so far in Catalog Success and the Catalog Success Idea Factory e-newsletter this year to bring you the ultimate how-to “cheat sheet.” Throughout these pages, we’ve synthesized the year’s best tips, summarizing, and in some cases quoting directly, from stories and/or the sources themselves, where noted. Below each, you’ll see the industry expert who offered the tip. We reference the issue from which the tips originate so
Take the road less traveled. Cataloging, by its very nature implies acquiring customers via renting lists. For some, that’s prospecting in a nutshell. But most catalogers eventually go beyond lists as a means to not only grow the business, but also to combat limited list universes, or as part of an overall expansion into multichannel marketing. But which directions make sense for your business? There are so many traditional choices, such as co-op databases, inserts, space ads, solo mailings, television or radio advertising. Compound that dilemma with the influx of newer online methods, such as paid search, Amazon.com, eBay and
By Shari Altman Continuity programs can help catalogers reduce the number of customers who vanish after one or two purchases. Continuity mar-keting often isn't the domain of catalog marketers, but those who dismiss this marketing approach too quickly as "not for us" may want to reconsider. For the average cataloger or multichannel marketer, more than half of new customers never make a second purchase. Even if your stats are better than average, it's hard not to be intrigued by the fact that continuity customers buy three to six times per year. Continuities also can offer a valuable service, saving your customers time and
In many ways, direct response television (DRTV) and cataloging are at opposite ends of the direct marketing spectrum. DRTV promotions — be they infomercials, spot commercials or home shopping — focus on selling to an unknown prospect or customer. Meanwhile, with only a few exceptions, catalogers target their promotions to specific prospects, customer lists or audiences. Yet both have to deal with all the challenges of today’s direct response marketing. For example, they must present products in compelling ways that make the sale, despite ever-increasing competition from other direct marketers, retailers and e-merchants. Also, they must address customers’ privacy and data security concerns,