A Web Site I’d Like to See Launched

With 10.1 million people unemployed in the U.S., why buy from China? I recently Googled “catalog” and these sponsored links popped up: SkyMall online catalog Search hundreds of SkyMall products online. Official site. Shop now www.SkyMall.com/Gifts Newport News Runway-inspired fashions for less. Shop our 2008 styles and trends. www.Newport-News.com Signals Mail Order Catalog Fun & Great Gifts for All Occasions Your One-Stop Holiday Gift Store www.signals.com Crate & Barrel Furniture Find Contemporary Furniture for Your Home Online at Crate & Barrel! www.CrateandBarrel.com — November 11, 2008 Late last summer I ordered two pair of chino trousers

Bargain Shoppers Turn to Social Networking

With consumers hunting for good deals this holiday season in light of the foundering economy, many have turned their attention to social networking. A survey from Guidance, a company that designs, builds and maintains e-commerce Web sites, says that nearly 30 percent of online shoppers say the best way to find discounts online is through link forwarding, peer comments or social sites. The recent survey, conducted by the market research firm Synovate, polled 1,000 online consumers. Here are some more findings of the report. * 45 percent of respondents said e-mail is the best way to learn about deals, followed by friends forwarding a

Catalog Budgeting for Web Sales and Traffic, Part 1 of 3

Catalogers struggle with budgeting for Web marketing. How much should they spend? And how much should they reasonably expect to get back in sales? These straightforward questions can prove difficult to answer for the Web side of a catalog business. This week in the first part of a three-part series examining how catalogers have had to adjust their marketing budgets to account for the influx of Web traffic and buyers, I look at how catalogers can approach the arduous task of planning their Web marketing budgets. One approach to planning your Web sales and marketing spend is to begin with the three basic areas

How to Use E-Mail in a Down Market

Historically, many e-mail marketers have gotten by with poor metrics and suboptimal business practices because e-mail marketing was seen as a cheap communication channel where it was easy to make a profit. But in the current economic climate, every cost is under scrutiny. Are you simply looking at ways to lower costs or e-mail more people? That’s exactly the wrong thing to be doing. Now is the time to act like a sharp businessperson and consolidate your own standing in the process. Focus on Real Business Metrics Smart businesspeople focus on profit and loss (P&L) and return on investment (ROI), not just cost. Clearly

Outsourcing to Save Call-Center Costs

I’ve always been a proponent of in-house call centers, especially as a former manager of one. But times are tough … and changing. Every company today is looking for ways to save money without hurting sales and customer service. As the pressure on businesses to dramatically reduce costs intensifies, look to domestic or offshore outsourcing of some or all call-center and data entry functions as a way to improve your bottom line. Companies can outsource these functions to avoid using capital for new order management and telephone systems. One of our clients recently outsourced 300,000 phone calls offshore, resulting in a substantial reduction in