The cross-channel retail industry is at a crossroads. For starters, due to the economic downturn, the past couple of years have been difficult for the retail sector. But that's changing. Retailers are starting to see signs of life and are breathing a sigh of relief. At press time, for example, it was announced that February retail sales increased 0.6 percent over January and 4.2 percent year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Coming on the heels of the downcast ACCM conference in New Orleans, the American Catalog Mailers Association's (ACMA) National Catalog Advocacy & Strategy Forum offered the 50 or so attendees on hand some potential relief and plenty of optimism.
I wanted to take this opportunity to alert fellow catalog/multichannel merchants to our company's response to the Federal Register Notice by the USPS for letter-size booklets and folded self-mailers [#39 CFR Part 111]. This rule change effectively will eliminate slim jims from the mailstream!
Lillian Vernon’s year-plus road to recovery has seen a mix of return-to-roots and get-with-the-times changes. Many have worked, as president/CEO Mike Muoio reports. Here are three additional improvements the company has made: 1. Change the catalog size to preserve the brand. In 2004, Lillian Vernon changed the trim size of its catalog from its traditional 8-inch-by-8-inch format to an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch size. But the change had almost no impact on sales, and since the brand had been associated with 8-inch-by-8-inch books for more than 40 years, Muoio and his team reverted back to the old format last October. “People recognize 8-by-8 catalogs as Lillian Vernon books,”
On Dell’s Service Woes Dear Editor, We read your editorial in the November issue and acknowledge that some of our customers, like you, haven’t received a positive experience when dealing with our customer service group. We’re making a sincere effort to address these concerns, as well as making a significant investment in our customer service organization to ensure that we consistently provide an excellent experience. In fact, this year alone, we have invested $150 million toward retraining our customer care and technical support teams, establishing additional vehicles for our customers to interact with us, and many more initiatives that are significantly
Below, our annual index of all stories that appeared in Catalog Success throughout 2006, including this issue. (For easy reference, use the print screen.) Cataloger Profiles Cover Stories United Receptacle: “B-to-B Goes ‘Plug and Play’” by Alicia Orr Suman, January Reiman Publications: “The Synergistic Approach” by Alicia Orr Suman, February Boston Proper: “Billion-Dollar Opportunity” by Donna Loyle, May Spiegel Brands: “How Spiegel Recovered” by Paul Miller, June Smarthome Direct: “Growth the Smart Way” by Matt Griffin, July J&L Industrial Supply: “Shaped Up, Shipped Out” by Paul Miller, August Northern Safety Co.: “Safely Ahead of the Game” by Matt Griffin, September AmeriMark Direct: “Steady
Problem: Ross-Simons wanted to make its luxury products more affordable without lowering prices. Solution: It implemented a deferred billing program. Results: Conversion rates during seasonal, deferred-billing promotions experienced double-digit increases. A few years back, Ross-Simons recognized that its customers had limited options when it came time to pay for their purchases. When customers ordered online or over the phone, “it was either take the Ross-Simons credit card or pay with your Visa,” says Larry Davis, the multichannel jewelry, home décor and accessories merchant’s vice president of marketing. “We wanted a more flexible solution.” Although the Cranston, R.I.-based company had a house
By Debra Wilson Ellis More customers order in the holiday season's 11th hour; be ready to fulfill. Customers take a leap of faith when they place last-minute holiday orders. Different reasons drive them to place orders at the 11th hour. And however they come, their orders are more than a transaction; they're symbols of their relationships with your company, and they're depending on you to deliver. Successfully fulfilling last-minute orders solidifies your relationship with customers. It says, loud and clear, that they can trust you to deliver at their most vulnerable time. Consequently, failing to deliver during this time jeopardizes your long-term relationship. Last
By Bill Spaide Need a seamless interface from e-commerce through order management to physical fulfillment? Here's how to get it. Online retail sales continue their year-over-year surge. Web consumers' expectations for the range of services and ease of online shopping also are increasing. As a result, Web and fulfillment technology solutions available to direct commerce marketers have undergone several changes during the last few years. What's been happening, why, and how can you take advantage of these noted trends to improve your multichannel sales and customer service efforts? In this article, I'll look at how converged software solutions
About Ross-Simons: Headquarters: Cranston, RI Year founded: 1952 Merchandise: jewelry, tableware, gifts, collectibles and home decor Business: 75 percent direct (catalog/Web); 25 percent retail Customer base: 700,000 12-month catalog/Web buyers Role at Ross-Simons: Marshall’s staff of nine includes catalog, Web site and retail marketers, as well as Web creative, merchandisers and creative design people. “Everything we do is focused on selling to the customer. It’s exciting working together to that end — being able to define a U.S.P. (unique selling proposition) and to make an offer. I love the direct marketing aspect of my job. You can test, get results