Having recently finished putting together the Multichannel Year Book commemorating the winners of the ECMOD Awards
for business excellence in 2009, I noticed many trends among the
winners. Most notably, those that were most successful had learned to
do more with less. Amongst other tactics, it meant reducing
circulation, frequency, or pagination of their catalogues and
experimenting with different formats. This maxim has continued through
to 2010; last month’s Catalogue Log recorded half the volume of
catalogues compared with May 2009.
There could be a number of reasons to explain why we’ve received fewer catalogues last month compared with a year ago. It could be that cataloguers are simply mailing less this year, or that we’re not bringing as many copies into the office from home compared with last year. Or it could be that mailers see us as tyre-kickers, and are mailing smarter, choosing to omit our prospect names from their files.
This theory could also
explain why most of the catalogues we received (61 percent) carried
some sort of promotion on the cover: They were pulling out all the
stops in order to get us to spend. The most popular offer was a sale or
discount (32.5 percent) as used by Cath Kidston, which inserted its full catalogue into Easy Living’s May issue carrying a 15 percent discount for the magazine’s readers.
Plus-size apparel retailer Evans
sent us two catalogues in May. The catalogues had the same cover image
but carried two different offers. One promoted free delivery on orders
of £40 or more, the other gave us 20 percent off our next order. The
free delivery offer was sent to an existing customer whilst the
discount was aimed at the prospect.
May 2010 saw a record number of catalogues offering a free gift (20.5 percent). The highest percentage up until now was recorded in June 2009, when 17.8 of catalogue covers promised a free gift. In May 2009, the figure was just 11 percent. Freebies promoted in consumer catalogues ranged from a raincoat and reversible fleece gilet from Daxon, to a free LED reading lamp for Daily Mail readers from Clifford James.
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