July Retail Sales Prove Not as Hot as the Weather
August 6, 2010

The second half of the year is off to a slow start for retailers, who reported Thursday that sales at stores open at least a year were weaker than expected in July, increasing 2.9 percent from July of last year, according to a tally by Thomson Reuters.

U.S. Retail Sales Up in June
July 8, 2010

Same-store sales, excluding Walmart, saw a 3.2 percent gain in June, up from May's 2.7 percent increase, according to Retail Forward's monthly report for 31 retailers. Last month's increase also topped June 2009's 4.7 percent decline, evaluated without Walmart. "The June results are positive, but the recovery in retail sales will be challenged in the coming months as long as doubts grow among shoppers," says Frank Badillo, senior economist at Retail Forward. "And it's clear that the news from the Gulf to Europe is starting to affect the outlook among shoppers." Among the biggest gains: Nordstrom (14.1 percent), Zumiez (10.9

Retailers Integrate Brick-and-Mortar Stores to Expedite Online Orders
May 21, 2010

Some traditional retailers, seeking to compete with the efficiency and shipping speed of online merchants like, are finding new ways to tap their stores to fill online orders. Nordstrom and Jones Apparel Group are increasingly using their large store networks, in addition to big centralized distribution hubs, to ship online orders quickly to buyers nearby. New inventory management software, they say, helps them increase efficiency in part by using online orders to keep excess inventory from building up in stores.

Keeping Customers Happy, Regardless of Channel
February 1, 2010

Cross-channel retail integration can mean many different things to many different people. It can refer to integrating a brand across a variety of channels, such as retail store, website and catalog, for example, which Brent Niemuth discusses in "The Integrated Shopper," beginning on page 13. Niemuth explains that for consumers to really connect with a brand, they must have the same brand experience online, in-store or with its catalog.

What Happened to the Sales Curve?
November 9, 2009

If you want a scalable ROI, one that protects the future of your business, you're going to have to figure out how to pull pennies out of a large audience every two hours. The process of pushing messages that extract dollars out of a large message is slowly fading into the past.

An Employee's Look at Social Media ROI
September 10, 2009

If you're a database marketer like me, you also find it difficult to listen to social media marketers proclaim that social media return on investment is something “bean counters focus on.” Nobody is going to agree on the right set of metrics for determining if social media delivers an increase in sales and profit. But might we be asking the wrong question?

How to Segment Special Occasion Customers
August 10, 2009

Special occasion customers act differently than customers who purchase because of advertising or those who purchase organically. Special occasion customers are often new to the business, buying merchandise for reasons that are different than the average customer. As a result, these customers can be less loyal.

What Is Organic Percentage, and Why Is It the Most Important Metric in Catalog Marketing?
October 28, 2008

Over the past decade, catalogers were forced to adapt to the e-commerce channel. The biggest change they were forced to deal with was a perceived decrease in the effectiveness of catalog marketing. Specifically, reporting metrics indicated telephone sales were plummeting while e-commerce sales were rapidly increasing. On the surface, this didn’t make sense. E-commerce sales increased faster when catalogs were in-home, then decreased rapidly at the end of a catalog life cycle. The vendor community supported catalogers by developing matchback algorithms — computer programs that allocated e-commerce sales to the catalog that may have caused the order to happen. Suddenly, all was well! It

Special Report: Sustainability & the Environment
June 1, 2008

Environmental groups Catalog Choice and ForestEthics are hot on catalogers’ tails. So are state governments, with 18 do-not-mail bills under review in 15 states as of the beginning of this year. As if catalogers didn’t have enough adversity — with postage on the rise again and the economy on the fall — they can’t afford to take the issue of environmentalism and sustainability lightly much longer. That’s why we’ve devoted the cover section to this hot topic. Consider the most recent events: • On Oct. 9, 2007, relative newcomer Catalog Choice unveiled its free, Web-based service to encourage consumers to opt out of

Multichannel Marketing: Adapt With Multichannel’s Evolution
March 27, 2007

Reflecting on his past experiences as a database marketing executive with the Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer and Nordstrom catalogs, Kevin Hillstrom, president of Seattle-based MineThatData, discussed ways he learned to adapt company business models to maximize multiple channels during a presentation at last week’s NEMOA conference, held in Cambridge, Mass. While with Nordstrom and Eddie Bauer, “we brought their channels together to come up with a single solution,” he said, noting how Nordstom “basically ended” the old business model of having the catalog function as a viable sales contributor. Instead, it would serve to promote store and Web traffic. “We saw customers were behaving differently,