June 2006 Issue


A Chat with Christophe Gaigneux,EVP, Boston Apparel Group,

EVP, Boston Apparel Group, © Profile of Success, Catalog Success magazine, June 2006 Interview by Matt Griffin Catalog Success: How many catalogs are in the Boston Apparel Group? Christophe Gaigneux: In the Boston Apparel Group we have four catalogs, we have Chadwick's, the Lerner catalog, or Metrostyle, because we're changing the name this year, and we have Jessica London. And all three of these are located in the Boston area. And we have La Redoute, which is a French brand that we also have in the U.S. CS: When was that group established? CG: As it is today? We just changed the setup a

Contributions to Profit Prepare Your Catalog Business for

Prepare Your Catalog Business for By Jim Gilbert As I sit here on a Sunday afternoon, the sky outside is black and Florida once again is weathering a storm. This one carries 60-plus miles per hour winds and torrential downpours, and the electricity is out in half of my town — and it's only April. By the time you read this column, the real hurricane season will be just weeks away. Even if you don't live in a hurricane zone, consider the disaster preparedness checklist below, as disasters of all forms — earthquakes, terrorist attacks and power outages — can strike at

E-commerce Insights Give Search Marketing Campaigns a Chec

For many catalogers, pay-per-click (PPC) search represents the largest line in the Web marketing budget. Just as you should visit your dentist or doctor twice yearly for a checkup, so too should you conduct a routine search marketing audit every six months. Regular checkups ensure your PPC campaigns stay healthy, whether managed by an in-house team or an agency. A PPC audit has three components: a sales data audit, a cost data audit and an economic performance audit. The two data audits ensure you're working with accurate numbers, and the performance audit leaves your

Got Purpose?

Five customer-oriented merchandising tips. When it comes to merchandising, many companies have forgotten that it's not about them. They've forgotten why customers came to them in the first place, and their catalogs have simply become containers of items for sale. In essence, they're desperately in need of a revival and don't even realize it. I've been noticing this trend in my strategic consultation with companies across the country. Products are presented in a mishmash array — without emotional connections — and essentially are pushed onto customers. They're not created by and for customers, and they lack sensory appeal. "Me-too" imitation products.

How Spiegel Recovered

By Paul Miller Fueled with fresh capital, CEO Geralynn Madonna & co. have revived, repositioned and run Spiegel into profitability. Just three years ago, the industry, the financiers and the media (including this writer) had all written off the Spiegel catalog as a soon-to-be goner. The mere notion that it would turn a profit again or even mail again seemed a pipe dream. But having emerged a couple of years ago from near liquidation along with its sister title Newport News, Spiegel now is thriving, having nudged its way into the black a little less than a year ago. "The big story was

Last-Minute Readiness

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

No Strike, Same Lesson

The sudden shutdown in March of freight consolidator APX Logistics brings July 1997 to mind. That was when UPS workers went on strike. The big difference, of course, was that UPS settled its strike within two weeks that year, and its trucks quickly returned to the road. APX — formerly RR Donnelley Logistics and CTC Distribution Direct, once used by many catalogers as a low-cost UPS alternative — is gone, leaving FedEx's SmartPost as the only comparable alternative. APX's demise brings to mind the lessons learned from the UPS strike: the need to spread out your ground shipments among several carriers. But since

Strategy Partner With the Best

Selecting a marketing vendor such as a printer, list broker or consultant may not sound like a difficult task. But, how do you know if you're selecting the "right" vendor for your business? The relationship you have with vendors, particularly with your printer, is important. (Your printer probably is your largest, unsecured vendor.) Two basic points that come up when selecting a vendor are price and attitude. Negotiate the best price you can with your vendor, but then cultivate the relationship.

Too Complicated to Buy?

Optimize your processes for the norm, not the exception. Fraud accounts for less then 0.5 percent of our sales, but we were so paranoid about it, we had processes in place that made ordering through our call center painful for regular, loyal customers. Make sure the policies you have in place don't adversely affect the people who are buying from you on a regular basis. —Nikhil Behl, VP, sales and support, HP Home and Home Office