April 2006 Issue


A Chat with Steve Singer, president, Hartford York

© Profile of Success, Catalog Success magazine, April 2006 Interview by Matt Griffin Catalog Success: When was the catalog established? Steve Singer: It was established in the mid-1990s, but it was a very small venture. I came to it in 2000. CS: Where are the headquarters located? Singer: I run the business from my home in Yearington, Nev., but the physical plant is in Stockton, Calif. CS: And your primary merchandise? Singer: Men's hats and accessories. CS: What's your annual circulation? Singer: This year is 1.6 million. CS: How did the catalog get started? Singer: It was started ... by the original owners,

A Watchful Eye on the Bottom Line

What catalog/e-commerce operation couldn't use a little cost-cutting and productivity boost from time to time? While the economy appears more robust than just a few short years ago and consumers seem to be buying in a more consistent fashion, it's still a good idea to ensure that your expenses don't start to creep up and your staff's productivity remains high. To help you with these tasks as they relate to your company's operations and merchandise fulfillment, we've compiled several expert-written articles for this issue. Curt Barry, president of consultancy F. Curtis Barry & Co., outlines 15 ideas that are sure to boost your

Chronicles Put the Rooster Tile Near the Chicken Towel

By Susan J. McIntyre Secrets of successful pagination. Pagination, deciding what products go where in your catalog, is both an art and a science. Paginating can be complex and confusing. But understanding some basic principles can help unravel the mystery. Easy to Find = Easy to Sell A product on your catalog's back cover is easy to find, because the customer will see it without opening the book. Let's say a product will sell 30 percent better on the back cover than on a random inside page. Which product would you prefer to get a 30 percent lift: a $1,000-revenue product or

Contributions to Profit Think Inside the Box

By Jim Gilbert Your most strategic asset is your outgoing product package. It's one of the customer touchpoints that can build a powerful brand identity, and be used to convert new customers into multibuyers. But I've often found this asset to be under-utilized — from not inserting any marketing collateral, to treating marketing materials placed inside as an afterthought. People love to get the products they've purchased. It's like opening presents during the holidays. When an individual opens the box, the enclosed items are seen in a positive light — even the marketing materials. That's why most catalogers place bounceback catalogs in the

How to Save Money on Your Inbound-Freight Program

By Nicholas C. Isasi Your vendors probably bundle freight expenses with the cost of goods and then give little consideration to the price to ship those items to your distribution centers. Indeed, most vendors actually use freight as an additional profit center. The markup for vendor prepaid freight can reach as high as 40 percent. That's why properly managing your inbound freight expenses can make the difference between a marginally good year and a successful one for your catalog company. Inbound freight typically represents 2 to 4 percent of gross sales for consumer products companies. Yet inbound freight costs seldom appear as a

How to Select an Outsourcing Partner

By Donna Loyle Before Sherry Comes outsourced contact center duties for her online business, she tried to keep operations in house, with reps answering customer calls only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. "But customers started saying, 'Come on. You're an Internet company. You should have longer call center hours,'" recalls Comes, president and founder of CoffeeCakes.com, a purveyor of gourmet baked goods. So Comes decided to outsource all of her contact center operations, including 24-hour order-taking, customer service, outbound telemarketing and conference calling. The outcome, she says, is that her business has been able to grow without adding staffers to the

Increase Response to Your E-mail Campaigns

By Matt Griffin Follow these six steps to test along the conversion funnel. As a cataloger, you spend time testing your circulation strategy, developing creative that will be a hit with your audience and building an image with which your customers can identify. But are you applying the same rigorous work to your e-mail campaigns? "Merchants test around their catalogs because catalogs are expensive to produce, and they don't want waste," says Eric Kirby, senior vice president and general manager for e-mail solutions at DoubleClick. "But because e-mail always has been cheap, they don't bother to test it as much as they should."

Roundup Fulfillment & Operations 15 Bottom-Line-Boosting

By Curt Barry Save cash in your contact center, distribution center and more. Today, many operations professionals are being asked to reduce costs and increase productivity and efficiency. Following are 15 tactics to try in your contact center, inventory control area and distribution center. In the Contact Center 1. Focus on agent scheduling. In general, contact center managers do a good job setting customer service reps' (CSRs') schedules based on projected call volumes. But then what happens? Review your original agent schedule against actual call volume and agents who worked. This simple task often provides insight into a schedule's effectiveness. Takeaway tip: Try

Special Report Printing, Paper & Production

By Gretchen A. Peck This Special Report includes: Catalog Design Duels, 10 Money-Saving Tips and What's New in Paper. The challenges catalogers face today have been building in recent years. Schedules continue to be compressed, and postage, paper and transportation costs are rising. Moreover, you continue to face obstacles as you attempt to create an efficient digital workflow for producing both your print and electronic catalogs. And all the while, pressures abound to cut time and expense from the process — without, of course, sacrificing even a smidgen of quality. For this Special Report, Catalog Success went in search

Strategy What You Need to Know About Promotional Offers

By Stephen R. Lett Promotional offers such as free shipping, 10 percent off, $5 off and a free gift can be extremely effective in boosting response and sales. But are you using promos correctly, or are you over-using them? Many catalogers offer promotions to all customers and prospects. There's sometimes no objective behind the offer, other than to increase sales. What's more, offers are used without prior or proper testing — in fact, they're offered without any financial analysis at all. This month I'll focus on when and how to use promos — and whether you should use them at all. Some

Tech Talk Fulfillment & Operations

Compiled by Donna Loyle Increase DC Capacity A recirculating row pusher is one of several new options available on the A-780 case palletizer from FKI Logistex. This feature improves case flow and allows higher palletizing capacities with rates up to 45 case-feet per minute. Another new feature, a high-speed hoist, enables increased capacity and noise reduction, note FKI Logistex officials. And the new system is RFID-enabled, which allows distribution center personnel to track inventory more easily. For more, visit: www.fkilogistex.com. Create Cushioning Material Your packers can create air pillows at a rate of 20 feet per minute with the new AIRPlus

The Convergence Question

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