What Would Reduced Mail Delivery Mean to You?
- Believe that your postage will continue to increase at rates well above inflation; make sure you budget for it. Also, operate under the assumption that one day a week of service will be cut — and it may be Tuesday (the worst choice for B-to-B catalogers).
- Continue testing new mail formats that are cheaper than mailing a full-line catalog.
- Carefully test reducing frequency to your repeat online buyers.
- Invest in search engine optimization and pay per click to acquire new customers online. This will allow you to reduce your prospect mailings.
- Test alternative media — whatever makes sense for your product category or market segment. Find new ways of acquiring customers.
- Rethink industry trade shows as sources of new customers.
- Beef up your personalized e-mail capability. E-mail needs to relieve some of your dependency on customer mailings.
- Improve your Web site. The better it is, the more your buyers will use it, like it and come back to it, reducing their dependency on mailings.
- Convert your smaller customers to credit card payments and your larger ones to electronic payment systems. Mailed checks are no longer an efficient form of payment.
- Examine similar businesses around the world, particularly Europe, to see what they're doing. Postal rates in Europe are much higher than the U.S., so they've been dealing with this problem for some time. You may find some innovative ideas that might work for you.
- Join the American Catalog Mailers Association. In numbers we have a voice and can slow the progression of postal rate increases, and lobby for relief (a bailout maybe?) from the pension fund liabilities.
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Terence Jukes is president of Ability Commerce, a 140-person firm that designs, builds and runs e-commerce and related marketing programs for catalog companies. He can be reached at TerryJ@AbilityCommerce.com.