March 11, 2009

Coremetrics: Online Sales On The Decline

Enjoy this link from Marketingcharts.com / Coremetrics, suggesting online demand is waning.

A few years back, I was in a meeting with catalog and online marketing leaders --- I, of course, represented the old-school, dingy, fossilized, curmudgeon-based, calcified world of catalog marketing. Our channel was something like -20%, year-over-year, while the online channel was something like +50%, year-over-year (never mind that catalogs and store buyers fueled the online channel). The online leader turned to me, and in front of our peers, demanded to know what I was going to do to fix my portion of the business --- the online leader crowed about the online business "holding everything up".

As I read the online marketing literature, I see no solutions from the folks who drilled us over the past decade. Now, the economy is to blame ... they were brilliant when their channel cannibalized old-school direct marketing and retail ... but aren't accountable for a decline in sales.

We know, all-too-well, from our Multichannel Forensics projects, that the entire online ecosystem is an organism that must have a healthy host (the offline economy) to survive and thrive. Shut off the offline economy, and you starve the online economy.

All of us, direct marketers, analysts, online marketers, are going to professionally benefit from this experience. We're going to learn an awful lot about selling over the next few years, and we're going to be much stronger leaders as a result. We won't reward channel leaders in the future, we'll simply reward those who sell.