Shrewd Hiring Strategy for Tricky Times
April 1, 2008

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Could Charles Dickens have described the state of multichannel retailing any better over the past few years? Whether your business is doing well or could be doing better, whether you’re in a hiring or layoff mode, a sometimes overlooked, cost-effective strategy for recruiting and developing top talent — and a critical source for your workforce — is the hiring of interns. With so many computer- and tech-savvy young people out there, and technology and e-commerce playing such important roles in the future of the industry, some of the brightest, most talented

Guest View: Search Expert, Blogger Extraordinaire Posts 9 Prognostications About Your Future
March 28, 2008

As per my headline, for this issue of Catalog Success: The Corner View, I hand my pen — um, keyboard — over to Catalog Success E-Commerce Insights columnist Alan Rimm-Kaufman. Alan heads the Rimm-Kaufman Group, an online agency providing large-scale paid search bid management and Web site testing services, and was formerly a marketing executive with the Crutchfield catalog of consumer electronics. I leave the stage to Alan, who starts with a potential scenario followed by nine predictions for the future of the catalog/multichannel business as it affects you. Scene: A bar at a conference hotel during a marketing trade show. Bill:

QVC, Crutchfield, Golfsmith, Lands’ End Stand Out in Mystery Web Survey
February 26, 2008

In a recent mystery shopping study conducted by the e-tailing group, TV home-shopping marketer QVC captured the top spot. The consulting firm ranked 100 Web sites based on a perfect score of 100, gauging such factors as the site’s key pages, the overall presence and execution of merchandising, and customer-service tactics. Here are some of the more noteworthy findings of the report: * QVC captured the top spot with a score of 86.5; * the average score was 67.9; * 40 percent of the sites earned index ratings greater than 70, 44 percent of the sites were in the 60 to 70 range and

Speak Personally …
November 1, 2007

There’s a ton of power to be had from “speaking personally” to a prospect or customer. Writing copy that touches consumers personally connects to those who otherwise might not pay much attention to your catalog or Web site. Writing to them just as you’d speak to them — one on one and as a trusted friend or colleague — breaks down the barrier that often exists between you and all but your most zealous customer. The fatal flaw of writing impassively or impersonally shows up more dramatically in direct mail than in catalog. With your catalog, you at least have photos to support the

A Chat with April’s Profile, A.G. Russell and Goldie Russell, president and CEO, A.G. Russell Knives
April 1, 2007

© Profile of Success, Catalog Success magazine, April 2007 Interview by Matt Griffin Catalog Success: When was the A.G. Russell catalog established? Goldie Russell: The mail order company was started in 1964. He didn’t actually mail a catalog for a period of time. Mostly it was space ads. I don’t know when you printed the first catalog, but I imagine that wasn’t until the ‘70s. A.G. Russell: Actually it was the late ‘60s. As soon as I had enough names to start mailing. You’d have to define catalog. I don’t know how it was defined in the late ‘60s, but I was

The Sum of Crutchfield’s Parts
March 1, 2007

New product selections for consumer electronics cataloger Crutchfield are driven by its merchandising staff, which works closely with manufacturers. Vice President of Merchandising Rick Souder and the merchandisers thrive on launching new products. Since Crutchfield deals in high-tech consumer electronics, its merchandisers are organized by product groups to gain an in-depth familiarity with a particular product category, such as televisions or car stereos. Crutchfield’s marketing department steps in to determine if these new products will appeal to its customers, and if so, how and when this product information will be communicated. “The marketing challenge is to get the word out about your products in

Catalog Success 200
March 1, 2007

Sur La Table 163,680 56,295 191 $85 cookware Mokrynskidirect 12/06 9/05 139,829 51,031 174 $115 pet supplies List Locators 9/06 5/05 & Managers Knit Picks 73,502 27,347 169 $60 crafts Walter Karl 6/06 6/05 Cutter & Buck 70,938 30,555 132 $147 men’s apparel Mokrynskidirect 1/07 1/06 Kinsman Co. 27,090 12,695 113 $83 gardening supplies D-J Associates 12/06 9/05 Fannie May Confections 72,173 34,794 107 $36 candy, chocolates Millard Group 11/06 10/05 Leichtung Workshops 20,312 9,958 104 $52 woodworking tools Names & 9/06 7/05 Addresses Orion Telescopes 33,445 16,849 99 $175 telescopes Millard Group and Binoculars 7/06 7/05 Time for Me 141,411 71,958 97 $95 women’s apparel Mokrynskidirect 1/07 10/05 Siegel Display Products 33,569 17,474 92 $300 promotional display products Direct Media 10/06 10/05 Smith & Hawken 140,722 74,971 88 $125 gardening supplies Belardi/Ostroy ALC 11/06 10/05 Redding Medical 13,689 7,642 79 $95 nursing supplies Fasano and 12/06 8/05 Associates Penn Herb Co. Ltd. 26,459 14,837 78 $54 natural remedies Walter Karl 4/06 5/05 MidWest Edwin Watts Golf 328,416 185,448 77 $250 golf equipment Venture Direct 8/06 5/05 Worldwide Staples 3,843,101 2,183,681 76 $250 office products Direct Media 12/06 11/05 Sporty’s Men’s Collection 12,926 7,368 75.4 N/A men’s recreational products Millard Group 1/07 5/05 New England Business 1,114,626 636,766 75 $120 office products MeritDirect Service (NEBS) 12/06 9/05

E-commerce Insights:Improve Your E-mail Sign-up Process
September 1, 2006

How can you get more e-mail sign-ups from your site visitors? E-mail sign-up is simple: a few clicks followed by a handful of keystrokes. But the same process of close comparative scrutiny also can improve complex processes, such as cart and check-out. This article focuses on the e-mail sign-up process at 45 multichannel retailers. For this study, I pulled 45 sites at random, taken from some of the larger merchants in the country. I signed up for e-mail at each using a fresh Gmail account. (For the full methodology and detailed scores and notes for each site, visit I conducted these tests in

Actionable E-mail Sign-up Ideas
September 1, 2006

Some ideas to try on your own, with real examples in parentheses: • Use a clean pop-up to collect e-mail information (Williams-Sonoma). • Let visitors sign up for e-mails from your retail stores (Crutchfield). • Tell visitors they’ll receive a discount coupon by e-mail right after signing up — it raises sign-up rates, and ensures the e-mail is valid (REI). • Allow visitors to select the content they want to receive (PetSmart). • After sign-up, tell the user to expect an e-mail confirmation (Vermont Teddy Bear).

Increase Response to Your E-mail Campaigns
April 1, 2006

By Matt Griffin Follow these six steps to test along the conversion funnel. As a cataloger, you spend time testing your circulation strategy, developing creative that will be a hit with your audience and building an image with which your customers can identify. But are you applying the same rigorous work to your e-mail campaigns? "Merchants test around their catalogs because catalogs are expensive to produce, and they don't want waste," says Eric Kirby, senior vice president and general manager for e-mail solutions at DoubleClick. "But because e-mail always has been cheap, they don't bother to test it as much as they should."