Ernie Schell

Below, our annual index of all stories that appeared in Catalog Success throughout 2006, including this issue. (For easy reference, use the print screen.) Cataloger Profiles Cover Stories United Receptacle: “B-to-B Goes ‘Plug and Play’” by Alicia Orr Suman, January Reiman Publications: “The Synergistic Approach” by Alicia Orr Suman, February Boston Proper: “Billion-Dollar Opportunity” by Donna Loyle, May Spiegel Brands: “How Spiegel Recovered” by Paul Miller, June Smarthome Direct: “Growth the Smart Way” by Matt Griffin, July J&L Industrial Supply: “Shaped Up, Shipped Out” by Paul Miller, August Northern Safety Co.: “Safely Ahead of the Game” by Matt Griffin, September AmeriMark Direct: “Steady

Three experts offer key pointers on Web site hosting, e-loyalty programs and advanced search engines. These days, catalogers reach more customers via the Web than ever before, and a growing number of them now receive a majority of their orders online. So in this technology focus, we've grouped together three articles to help marketers 1) better manage their e-commerce businesses, 2) use the Web and e-mail to keep customers loyal and 3) revamp their sites with advanced search capabilities. 1. Might it be wise to switch to a hosted software solution to better manage your e-commerce business? Some

By Ernie Schell What is "software?" The easy answer is a computer program designed to execute one or more specified functions. But in 2006, the reality is that there is no easy answer. Over the past five years, there's been a revolution in the so-called "software as a service" (SaaS) arena. This is something of a throwback to the 1970s and before, when a centralized mainframe served selected views of software programs to a user's "dumb terminal." The terminals were "dumb" because they did no computing. You entered data into the interface and the mainframe did the

When catalog order management systems were first developed in the 1970s, they were designed to manage all aspects of catalog operations: from order entry, customer service and customer database management to response analysis, inventory management, purchasing, fulfillment, and returns. Thirty years later, they still are, which is why so many direct merchants can run their businesses on these applications without a need to add specialized solutions for things like warehouse management. Some companies, however, find their catalog management systems don’t provide the flexibility or sophistication they need to address their inventory or fulfillment challenges. For them, a warehouse management system (WMS) is a necessary

Call center quality management is more than phone calls — it's Web chat, e-mails, etc. All managers should do it for at least a day and give timely and useful feedback for employees to immediately use. —Ernie Schell, president, Marketing Systems Analysis Inc.

Jenson USA, a cataloger of premium mountain biking accessories, reached a critical juncture in 2001. Founded a decade ago by President and CEO Mike Cachat, a competitive racer who spent his off hours tuning his bikes and those of his friends, the company grew quickly. Recalls Cachat, “We soon realized our slow catalog software couldn’t handle the large volume of data we were generating.” The cataloger was rapidly adding customers via a media mix of magazine ads, catalog prospecting and, most significantly, the Internet — where it now transacts 65 percent of its orders. Complicating things further, it plans to open its

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