Global Distribution Strategies
A look at how two direct marketers fulfill products overseas
You’ve spent countless hours and dollars on your promotional marketing efforts and have succeeded in pulling in orders. Now it’s time to make good on your offer and fulfill the order.
Not only do you have to contend with the intricacies of fulfillment, but you must decide how you are going to transport your product overseas and do it cost-efficiently.
There is no sure-fire way to save on the back end of international direct marketing. How you fulfill largely depends on the product you are shipping and your allowable turnaround time.
Here’s a look at how a publisher and an association get their goods to customers overseas.
Agora & Boardroom
As a consumer publisher with numerous newsletter and book titles on topics such as alternative health and alternative investment strategies, Agora International has explored several options to reduce postage and delivery time since it began marketing internationally in 1992. Today, more than 15 percent of its customers reside outside the United States.
In 2003, Agora partnered with Boardroom Inc. to sell Boardroom products overseas. It currently promotes two newsletters—Bottom Line Personal and Bottom Line Health—and six book titles, including “The World’s Greatest Treasury of Health Secrets,” “The Complete Encyclopedia of Natural Healing” and “Bottom Line’s Book of Uncommon Cures for Everyday Health Ailments” worldwide.
According to Grace Epperson, Agora International’s director of research and development, Boardroom’s first international book mailing to Australia cost the publisher more than U.S.$19 per book to mail the hardcover format from the United States. With a price point of only U.S.$40 per book, it took more than a 4.5-percent response rate to break even.
Because postage is based on weight, softcover books are significantly less expensive to mail than hardcover books. Epperson says Agora convinced Boardroom to test softcover versions of its books, and discovered the format change had little effect on order refund requests. Subsequent book mailings to Australia have been softcover versions, which have cut fulfillment costs considerably.