Top 10 Catalog Blunders
By Jack Schmid
The fourth quarter is critical for many catalogers. Indeed, performance in this last stretch may well determine the outcome of your year-end profitability. As such, blunders committed during the fall season can have a negative impact on your bottom line.
As you gear up for the fourth quarter, avoid these common mistakes.
Not testing and promoting offers. Offers are one of the most important aspects to test. Will free shipping and handling out perform a free gift or no offer at all? Is a discount better than a gift certificate? What kind of gain do you need to pay for each offer?
Not promoting the company's URL and Web site. Many catalogers will take in 40 percent to 50 percent of their orders this fall via the Internet. Making it easy for customers to find that URL is important, or you risk losing orders. One good idea is to include your Web site URL on every spread in the catalog. Most importantly, include it on the back cover, the opening spread, the order form and on every customer service communication. Put the URL in every place customers might look for it.
Not promoting the catalog's brand and unique positioning. Not long ago, catalogers only thought of niche and maybe promotional positioning in their creative presentation. Thanks to the likes of great catalogers such as L.L. Bean, Talbots, Pottery Barn and Chef's Catalog, talented creative minds find it is essential to reinforce the company's brand throughout the catalog—on both covers, on the opening spread and throughout the catalog. By identifying the three or four things that make your catalog and Web site unique, then highlighting them in key hotspots throughout the catalog, brand recognition and brand acceptance will be realized.
Not mailing your customer list often enough. This gaffe is not about mailing all customers more often. It's about actively promoting your "best" and "better" customers more often. Whether it's another catalog mailing, or interspersing targeted e-mail campaigns between mailings, you should segment and prioritize your customer database, then develop additional promotions to your best customers to build sales and profits.