aaROI August 2009


12 Benchmarks Across Integrated Channels

Benchmarking is a set of performance standards for a specific task. Many are standards for all markets, but they need to be adjusted to meet the requirements, limitations and needs of your specific business.

A Reason to Recall Catalog Showrooms

As a career business journalist, my first job out of college was back in the early '80s as an assistant editor with Catalog Showroom Business. This business magazine went belly-up by the late '80s. So, too, did much of the catalog showroom industry over the next decade or so. Oddly enough, all these years later, I see some common bonds between that business and the tri-channel retailing business of today, which I'll get to in a moment.

A Systems Overview

Until recently, selecting the optimum e-commerce platform for a multichannel business was a race to keep up with evolving technologies. The applications morphed at such blinding speed that the needs and requirements you defined when selecting your system easily could be obsolete by the time that system was up and running. Today's technology isn't evolving any slower — if anything, the pace of e-commerce change continues to accelerate. But the main differentiators among systems these days are less in the features and functions they support than the services they offer, flexibility, scalability, technical support, and the vendors' approach to charging for licenses or services. In short, your biggest challenge in selecting a platform may be determining which provider will be your best business partner going forward.

Case Study - Carpet One Covers 
All With Its Move Online

Problem: Carpet One Floor & Home, a retailer of floor coverings, lacked a web presence for its 1,000-plus individually owned retail locations. Solution: Contracted with an e-commerce technology and services provider to host its website. Results: ROI of $10 for every $1 spent online, cost per sale online is half of tradit-
ional media and the average order generated online is 50 percent greater than retail-
only customers.

Full Speed Ahead

Thirty years ago, motorcycle parts and accessories marketer J&P Cycles was founded on an aggressive, interactive, customer-centric business model. Today's no different.

Old Navy Site Plays to Win

Hi. My name is Melissa, and I like to play online marketing games. There, I said it. As a jaded journalist, I thought the whole concept of online marketing games was silly. I mean, it's obvious what marketers are trying to do here, right? Get you captivated by an online game and then, when you're sucked in so deep, try to sell you something you don't need or that's too expensive. Oh, and they also may make it hard to get out.

Prospecting - Crutcheze.com, OfficeMax, Sears, J.C. Penney

Crutcheze.com Leans on Search 
for Growth; OfficeMax Targets Women With New Catalogs, Campaign; Sears, Penney 
Ramp Up Diverse, Seasonal Campaigns.

Retail's Final Frontier?

The nature of the internet business model allows more centralized inventory control and more efficient order and fulfillment management than a retail store network. And of course with centralized fulfillment, online merchants don’t incur the cost of distributing inventory around the country, or even throughout a region. In addition, they can extend or cancel promotions depending upon demand and inventory levels.

Shop Talk

Understanding Postal: Response Testing and the Total Picture; Legal Matters: Maryland Bars Resale Price Maintenance; Catalogs Grab Gold Ink Awards

The New Math

In the traditional catalog arena, 
profitability analysis is pretty straightforward: Merchandising contribution margin is composed of demand, returns, net sales, cost of goods sold and advertising expense. In e-commerce, merchants have a different kind of profit analysis and planning process, due to the dynamic nature of the web.

The New World of Direct Marketing

I had breakfast with a couple at a conference recently. The woman was the founder of a business that sells beads to home hobbyists for bracelets and necklaces. Her partner runs the back-office operations for the business. I asked how they started their business.