Guide to Catalog Management Software

Spot-on Creative
March 14, 2006

Success in any medium requires a thorough understanding of which techniques make a campaign breathe and grow versus those that cause it to wither and die on the vine. Winning creative for direct response television (DRTV) spots—whether short-form or long-form—hinges on several dictums that have not changed, regardless of consumers’ growing practice of commercial-skipping. Of course, following the creative rules does not guarantee success. Tim Hawthorne, president and executive creative director of full-service DRTV agency Hawthorne Direct, in Fairfield, Iowa, points out: “Poor creative rarely can inhibit a great DRTV product from hitting a home run. Great creative rarely can prohibit a poor DRTV

13 Pitfalls to Avoid When Acquiring an Order Management System
November 3, 2005

By Ernie Schell Selecting and implementing a new order management system can be a daunting process. After all, this is a mission-critical suite of applications that can make or break your business. There are dozens of potential solutions and never enough time — or so it seems — to attend to all the details. There's also the issue of technophobia. And sorting out the real from the hype in your technology options is unquestionably a tough challenge, even if you're trying to keep up with the changes in this fast-paced field. Often the best way to achieve a successful outcome is to

Taking Credit
Strategies for Managing Credit Card Payments
December 1, 2003

Strategies for Managing Credit Card Payments By Ernie Schell Like many technologies, managing e-commerce credit card payments has become commoditized. With the methods used to manage authorizations and charges now routine and standard, and with hundreds of vendors vying for your business, costs have plummeted to near rock-bottom levels, as well. Nevertheless, handling credit card payments in any medium is always fraught with its share of challenges—preventing fraudulent charges and theft of credit card data chief among them—and the details, though manageable, require close attention. The following explanations are simplified, covering the most important details you need to know. Authorizations vs. Charges When a

E-Commerce Systems Options
October 1, 2002

Choose the Platform That Best Suits Your Needs By Ernie Schell E-commerce platforms play a vital role in today's multi-channel marketing mix. With Web sales growing faster than catalog or retail revenues, they also can provide the biggest return on investment. There are essentially four ways to create an e-commerce Web site:

Back-end Integration
September 1, 2002

Multichannel commerce poses new systems-integration challenges By Ernie Schell It wasn't long ago that most directcommerce companies were catalog businesses, with orders coming in by mail and phone. These orders were entered into a comprehensive catalog management system that handled customers, inventory and orders. Fulfillment was driven by the catalog management application. While this paradigm still applies in some facilities, it's more complicated for most of today's direct-commerce businesses. E-commerce Web sites are the primary source of complication. Kiosks in retail stores are another. A growing number of companies have found that a warehouse management system (WMS) is more effective in handling fulfillment

Delight Your Customers
April 1, 2002

Fulfilling Customers' Orders ... and Expectations By Denny Hatch The next time a wonk gets up at a direct marketing conference and parrots the current industry buzzwords—customer relationship management, retention marketing, back-end marketing and customer satisfaction—stand up and let fly with a noisy raspberry cheer. Consign these tired platitudes to the scrap heap of bad ideas. Anyone with half a brain and half a computer can satisfy a customer. But only when you continually delight customers will they keep coming back. The Tale of the Lexus A friend of consultant Don Jackson bought a Lexus—a $45,000 piece of machinery. He could afford a

Step Up to World Class Standards (1,745 words)
March 1, 2001

By Ernie Schell Wisely selecting appropriate back-end technologies can help bolster your multi-channel, direct-commerce operations Thanks in large part to the innovations developed by and for Internet marketers, the pace of change in direct commerce has been dizzying in the past few years. Now that Web sites are de rigueur, most successful merchants have become "multi-channel" marketers—whether they like it or not. While some Web merchants invest in multi-million-dollar advertising and marketing campaigns to attract traffic to their sites, others have created successful e-commerce sites that rack up sales without much, if any, money spent on promotion. For example, when a well-known catalog