Marketing Systems Analysis

Integrate Your E-commerce Solutions
July 1, 2002

Long after the Internet bubble burst, e-commerce is alive and well for direct marketers and is the fastest-growing direct commerce sales channel. Catalog companies have three options for managing the dynamic online marketing environment. An Independent Adjunct At one extreme, a catalog’s e-commerce operation can stand alone as a totally independent adjunct to the traditional enterprise. Although it may share some of the same merchandise, it also may feature items that are not in the catalog. When it does offer catalog items, they may be only a subset of the full catalog line. In this extreme scenario, no effort is needed to

System Solutions: A Best-of-Breed Strategy
April 1, 2002

A generation ago if you wanted to automate a catalog business you had two choices. You could buy a catalog management system that supported all operations in the call center and the warehouse, from order entry through fulfillment and customer database management. Or you could build such a system yourself. Indeed, nearly all the “packaged” solutions started out as in-house systems that were put onto the market to recoup the catalog company’s investment. The systems landscape for catalog marketers looks very different today. Not only is the Internet an increasingly important sales and marketing channel that must be incorporated into your enterprise systems

How to Select a Payment Processor
January 1, 2002

If you’re shopping for a direct commerce payment processor, you’ll have a bit of homework to do. Following are some tools that can help get the job done quickly and efficiently. What to Look for When selecting a payment-processing partner, determine the data-transmission protocols and transmission gateways it accepts and with which it works. For high-volume batch transmissions, bisynchronous communications are preferable to asynchronous; that is, you can transmit your authorization requests and deposit data, then get approvals and deposit confirmations back from the processor—all in a single phone call. Asynchronous batch transmissions work like a CB or walkie-talkie: One party transmits, then

Selecting the Right Fulfillment Software (766 words)
October 1, 1999

Six Steps to Selecting the Right Fulfillment Software By Ernie Schell More than three dozen software applications are on the market for managing order entry and fulfillment for catalog companies. With that kind of variety, choosing the catalog management system that is best for your company can be confusing unless you approach the challenge with a structured plan. Try these six steps: 1. Establish systems objectives and priorities. There are lots of reasons for acquiring a new system: managing increased capacity, improving customer service, introducing new business methods (such as continuity shipments), lowering processing costs, improving inventory efficiency, reducing paperwork, supporting better e-commerce

Lands' End - Taking On Content (1,379 words)
November 26, 1998

Think about this: The Direct Marketing Association estimates the average household receives 1.7 catalogs per week. The direct marketing shopper is probably not in your average household, so that number jumps dramatically for the direct mail-responsive. Now consider that there are roughly 100 million households in the United States. At the rate of 1.7 catalogs a week, it's safe to say the average consumer mailbox receives 88.4 books per year for an annual 8.84 billion in circulation. From a marketer's point of view, explains Susan McIntyre, president of McIntyre Direct, if you're sending out 20 catalogs a year, you'll need to do something