Santa Fe, N.M.

Even though paper costs are ratcheting up, printing costs are still at an all-time low. It's pretty straightforward to compare competitive printing bids, but it gets tricky comparing co-mail costs and postage. Why is it so complicated? It seems printers want to keep it that way. Margins in printing are razor thin, and the profits for printers are in their co-mail programs.

Last month's Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago had all the elements of a healthy trade show -- attendance was at record levels with over 10,000 paid attendees; the exhibit floor was packed with booths and customers; and the sessions were well attended. It seemed like everyone in the industry was at the show.

Economic crisis accelerates changes in the basic underlying business models of multichannel marketers, who have had to adapt in order to survive as consumers shut their wallets. Here are some of the ways business models have been radically and permanently altered.

Digital catalogs have been around for a long time, but they've suddenly become a valuable tool for marketers. The technology has dropped in cost to the point where marketers are almost forced to learn how to use digital editions — not to mention the fact that they've become very user-friendly, too.

The expansion of co-mail programs, combined with falling printing prices, means that retailers and catalogers have the opportunity to substantially cut their postage costs in 2010 by getting comparable printing and co-mail costs from several printers.

More Blogs