October 31, 2007

Catalogers And Co-Ops: A Question

A question for my catalog readers.

Would you like for your co-op vendor (i.e. Abacus or Z24 or others) to do a multichannel forensics analysis, one that tells you the companies your customers are in transfer mode with (i.e. the companies your customers are leaving you to shop at), one that tells you which companies transfer customers to you?

And if you knew that information, would it be actionable?

Many of you already pay companies for panel data that provide you with similar information. Your co-op has a much better sample of information than organizations that use panel data.

Your thoughts?

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:28 AM

    Having worked at both a Co-Op and as a circ manager I think it would be interesting to look at customer migration. But, where is the line drawn for changing merch mix, marketing strategy etc before becoming "Your Competitor" Lite?

    We expect a certain ebb and flow (hopefully more flow than ebb)and I always worry more about what we are doing in regard to style, price, marketing and merchandising than what the competition is doing. If my team and I are doing our jobs we won't give our customer a reason (or at least less of a reason) to shop all over town.

    To your point - It would be interesting but the questions are How much is it worth and what would you do with it, I don't know.

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  2. I suppose it is up to the brand to determine how to use the information. Each business must have their own unique point of view on merchandise ... ultimately, that is the only reason the business is in business.

    Competitive information paints a picture as to who your customer really "is". For instance, large upscale retailers observe that their customers spend a lot of money at Wal-Mart and Target. That doesn't cause you to change your merchandise assortment. That does cause you to think about how you meet the needs of your customer.

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  3. Anonymous11:56 AM

    I agree, My thinking was more along the lines of if you were watching your customers leave and not come back. If they are shopping multiple vendors then it would be a very useful tool to offer the customer the right merchandise mix at the right time.

    Some of the co-ops do offer a product similar to what you are describing. Instead of the companies in transfer it will show the products at the category level not sku they purchase from your catalog as well as others and when. This will show you both your market and wallet share in the space. You can also add several other data points if need be.

    This type of information can be very useful when trying to determine how to meet the needs of your clientele.

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  4. If I recall correctly, we realized at Nordstrom that the product categories our customers were purchasing from were not congruent with the customer we wanted to have ... so we used that data point as one of many to kill our traditional catalog program (in as a consequence, end our relationships with Abacus and Z24).

    Retailers can get away with that, catalogers can't.

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