Harbor Sweets’ Billie Phillips on Driving Off-Season Sales
TM: What were the results of your recent suppression test to assess how effective the annual holiday catalog mailings were in driving sales?
BP: The results of that suppression test showed us that we would achieve a boost in our sales if we were to redistribute the number of catalogs we are sending, and if we stay in close communication with those people who are repeat buyers. The question we asked was, “How does our mailing schedule affect those best buyers; what would happen if we didn’t send the number of catalogs we send through the fall; what if we redistributed to another segment of the list?” We did a very small sampling the year before this past holiday which indicated that we may see a positive outcome by mailing less catalogs to that group—it was really a test for us—and during the second test, the results were the same. So, we now know that we could redistribute and see a lift in the sales instead of losing sales. That, combined with the ability to reach at-risk customers, has improved our timing, and when mailing, timing is everything.