July 24, 2011

Dear Catalog CEOs: Order Starters

Dear Catalog CEOs:

We've talked about this before, but it bears repeating.  The first twenty pages of your catalog are pretty important, especially among the 55+ rural audience that spends a lot of money when catalogs are mailed.

If your customer database is calibrated in a way that allows you to conduct the analysis in this manner, be sure to do this:
  1. If an item appears in the first row of an order, it is the "order starter", it is the item the customer wanted most in the order (yes, this is an assumption).
  2. Rank-order each item based on the ability of the item to "start orders".
  3. Look at the items featured in the first twenty pages of your catalog, this year vs. last year.  If your catalog is not performing terribly well, is there a change in "order starters"?
Frequently, catalogs (and e-mail campaigns) perform well when the catalog is front-loaded with order starters.  E-mail campaigns can work well when the items featured are those that are known to start orders.

So have your analytics team give this analysis a try ... see what has changed in your business!