10 Principles of Catalog Shopping for Retailers

As more retailers turn to the Web, direct mail and catalogs to offer customers alternatives to burning gas traveling to malls, many are taking a crash course in direct marketing, seeking ways to make the direct channel work for them. Last month, we laid out the first five of 10 key principles retailers should follow to make the most of catalogs and the Web to augment their retail/multichannel programs. Here are principles six to 10. 6. Use effective segmentation to select names for catalog contact. While very sophisticated segmentation and scoring models have proven successful at larger companies, it’s best to first exploit the

8 Tactics to Save Time, Money ...

With today’s tough economic times calling for catalog/multichannel marketers to tighten budgets on every front, one of the biggest challenges is how to cut catalog production costs without diluting the brand or skimping on key creative elements. But what stone has been left unturned on that front? Here are eight cost-cutting, brand-retaining production ideas to consider. 1. Marry and involve both your production and creative team members at the very beginning of each project. Their insight and experience will identify pitfalls, time-saving technology opportunities, and ways to streamline the production and proofing process. 2. Take full advantage of your vendor relationships to minimize paper,

A Chat With November’s Profile, Mark Desrochers, co-founder/marketing director, Classic Designs by Matthew Burak (Text & Audio)

Catalog Success: Where’s your company headquartered? Mark Desrochers: St. Johnsbury, Vermont. CS: When was the company established? Was this also the same time it began mailing catalogs? MD: We don’t look back too much, so we’re actually pretty weak at recalling some of these dates. Matt [Burak] was a furniture maker, and he had a long and successful run as a furniture maker. We incubated this table leg business for a few years inside of his furniture business. We split it out in December of 1999. It’s more realistic to say the idea was … we wrote the business plan in ’95. December

Case Study: How MotoSport Sped Up Its Shipping Process

Problem: MotoSport, a catalog/multichannel retailer of power sports apparel, parts and accessories to motorcyclists and recreational vehicle owners, needed a faster, more flexible online shipping logistics system. Solution: Teamed with a software solutions provider to rework shipping rules. Results: Increased customer loyalty and repeat purchases as a result of customized and personalized shipping offers — with significant gains in sales, average order size and shipping cost reductions expected. To reduce shipping costs by giving customers more options, MotoSport upgraded its logistics system by deploying new software. Office Rules software from Haley uses a natural language (i.e., English) determination engine within MotoSport’s Web-based ordering

E-Commerce Insights: 8 Surfire Tips to Increase Conversions Today Without Breaking the Bank

Plurk? Twitter? FriendFeed? Utterz? Social networking is all the rage. Everyone seems to want to know more about Web 2.0. That’s especially unfortunate for traditional catalogers and direct marketers whose sites are still at Web .05. Here are the reasons: • These days, most businesses get more than enough Web traffic. • They just don’t know how to convert it effectively. • And to mask their inability to actually enable people to easily add stuff to their carts and check out seamlessly, these companies send more and more traffic to flawed sites. Short term, it can be a great idea. Long term, it’s

Editor’s Take: Watch Your Back This Season

Very little PR I get in my inbox grabs my eye, but this one warrants a little attention. A few weeks ago, I was nudged by a Dublin, Ireland-based data management firm called Ethoca, which has developed something across the pond called the Collaborative Fraud Management platform and hosts The Global Fraud Fighting Community. This is a group of European merchants who pool their transaction information to determine and share with other group members those potential transactions that are legit or fraudulent. Now Ethoca has brought its efforts to the U.S., and one of the first merchants it signed up was multichannel computer equipment

Industry Eye

GOLD INK AWARDS The 21st annual Gold Ink Awards continued to call attention to the print industry’s finest projects. This year, North American Publishing Co. (parent company of the Gold Ink Awards and Catalog Success and Book Business magazines, the latter of which presented the awards) received nearly 1,500 entries. A team of judges with backgrounds from across the print industry pored over the submissions, awarding Gold, Silver, Bronze and Pewter honors in a total of 46 different categories. In all, 488 entries were selected for awards. Here’s a look at the gold and silver winners in the business and consumer catalog divisions.

Perfecting an Imperfect Science

With the Internet fast becoming the vehicle of choice for catalog shoppers to place orders, catalogers face the challenge of identifying what inspired those buys to begin with. The more marketing channels available, the more ways companies can reach existing clients and prospects. But unless a buyer purchases the old-fashioned way — via phone, fax or mail — or types the key code of a catalog into the Web order form, it’s tough to determine whether that sale was driven by the catalog, an e-newsletter, a Google search or an intentional visit to your site. Earlier this year, Catalog Success polled multichannel merchants to

Profile of Success: A Leg to Stand On

WHAT GOT HIM HERE: A strange journey. After working previously as a landscape architect and spending 10 years out at sea as a private yacht sailor, Mark Desrochers returned home to start a woodworking business with his best friend, Matthew Burak. “Matt had a long and successful run as a furniture maker,” Desrochers recalls. “We incubated this table leg business for a few years inside of his furniture business.” As for the direct marketing side of the business, this was the first venture into that arena for the pair. “We were introduced to direct marketing through a customer in Matt’s furniture store,” Desrochers

Strategy: Generate Extra Revenue While Leveraging Existing Overheard

I’ve always believed you put dollars in the bank, not percentages. For example, it’s not the percent of net income that’s important, but the total dollars of profit achieved. To maximize dollars, manage the income statement by the ratios as a percentage of net sales — the dollars will take care of themselves. This month, I’ll review the key ratios of a typical profit and loss (P&L) statement for a B-to-B and a B-to-C catalog company and discuss how these ratios are different today than just a few short years ago. If your company’s experience has been similar to others, sales are

The 50 Best Tips of 2008

Tired of reading about what a tough year it’s been for so many businesses across the board? Frustrated with your own results? Scared about the economy? Whether or not you’re struggling as much as others, here’s a little tonic: our annual best-of feature, in which we’ve pulled what we believe to be the 50 best and most implementable tips of the year from Catalog Success magazine as well as our weekly e-newsletter, Tactics & Tips. There’s nothing fancy here. Each paragraph is taken from a particular story that’s referenced, so you can turn or click back to reread the full story or act on

Upuzzling Matchbacks

The marketing manager was suspicious. The pay-per-click Web campaign results looked too good. A matchback revealed that 40 percent of the campaign’s customers, representing 60 percent of its sales, had actually received a catalog before placing their orders. Scary, isn’t it? That’s just one reason why order tracking still matters. Here’s another: The chart accompanying this article is a real — and typical — example of key code capture rates. This unnamed cataloger captured key codes for 46 percent of its orders that represented 62 percent of its sales. Untracked data represented 54 percent of its orders and 38 percent of its sales. The

What Great E-Mails Do So Well …

This month, I thought I’d share some of my favorite e-mails and explain why they’re tops in my book. As you read them, think about how you might incorporate these tactics in your own e-mail programs. Orvis and Customer Reviews Many catalogers include customer product reviews on their sites. It’s a great way to take advantage of Web 2.0 by integrating customer content online. Plus, shoppers place great value on reviews in the shopping process — this user-generated content should increase sales. If you have customer reviews on your site, make sure the members of your e-mail list are aware of this feature. Orvis