International By Design Peruvian Connections Adds Germany to I
When Peruvian Connection decided to tackle the German market it realized the launch would be "trickier" than its earlier entry into the United Kingdom because of language differences and a different approach to paying for mail-order goods, reports Annie Hurlbut, CEO and co-founder of the Kansas-based catalog. While it has hit a few bumps in the road, the cataloger has used its experience to grow its European operations.
Although Peruvian Connection didn't launch its first international catalog until 1994, Hurlbut maintains the cataloger has been an international company long before its first venture into the global market. As its name suggests, Peruvian Connection has shared its history with the country and mountain people of Peru since Annie Hurlbut and her mother Biddy began importing alpaca sweaters.
Getting Its Feet Wet
After a successful launch in the United Kingdom in 1994, Germany was chosen as the cataloger's second market for expansion because, as Hurlbut explains, it recognized that "there is a healthy mail-order tradition in Germany as well as an appreciation for alpaca."
The first test mailing of 100,000 catalogs mailed in spring of 1998. The results were promising enough to justify a second, larger mailing of 200,000 catalogs which dropped last fall.
Peruvian Connection prospects aggressively in Germany, dropping three major mailings a year and running space ads in local publications. Catalogs are mailed to local or in-country lists, and this is often done on an exchange basis.
The catalog's response rates in Germany tend to be higher than its domestic rates. However, Hurlbut is quick to point out that along with the higher response rates, you have to factor in the increased costs to market overseas.
To successfully penetrate the German market, Peruvian Connection realized it would need to create a German version of its catalog with German-language copy and pricing in deutsche marks. Generally speaking, a local-language package priced in the local currency, used in combination with local-language lists, will allow you to dig deeper into the target market.