January 14, 2008

How Do I Know When Catalog Buyers Need To Continue Receiving Catalogs?

There are two ways to look at this topic:
  • Non-Traditional View:
    • Use Multichannel Forensics: Over the past several years, if catalog customers remain in "isolation mode" and online customers are in "equilibrium" or "transfer mode", then catalogs are your primary reason for being.
  • Traditional View:
    • Look at Demand per Thousand Pages Circulated on an annual basis for a segment of customers (adding in your matchback results for sales driven by catalogs to the online channel). If this metric is flat or increasing over time, your catalogs are highly relevant. If this metric is decreasing, either customers no longer pay attention to the catalogs, or the merchandise is not enticing, or the creative isn't enticing, or there are pricing issues.
    • Look at your "opt-out" rate across customer segments --- what percentage of last year's purchasers are saying they no longer want to receive catalogs? Is this percentage increasing over time?
    • Look at the number of pages a customer was mailed, over time. Is this metric increasing while DMPC decreases? If so, your customer wants fewer catalogs, or fewer pages per catalog.
I hesitate to look at the metrics within any one catalog. Aggregate results over the course of a year, looking at DMPC (Demand per Thousand Pages Circulated), a metric that at least controls for the number of pages a customer was mailed during the year.

Basically, the answer to the question is sitting right there in your database!