December 30, 2012

Dear Catalog CEOs: Happy New Year!

Dear Catalog CEOs:

For many of you, the fiscal year ended last Saturday, or ends next Saturday.  For some, the fiscal year ends in four weeks.

Maybe it is time to take a moment, and enjoy the year that is about to unfold.

Be honest --- most pundits have been wrong.  Half of them told you that your business model is "dead".  It isn't.  The other half told you that you had to dive into retail and all these zany omnichannel solutions that keep pundits in business ... and if you didn't do what they told you to do, you'd be dead.

Are you still in business?  Profitable?  10% pre-tax profit?

Obviously, you're doing something right, aren't you?

So take a moment, and enjoy all the good things you've done in recent years.

And get ready to enjoy 2013.  These areas are critically important.
  • Great merchandise.
  • New customer acquisition.
  • Stop mailing catalogs to online-focused buyers (Jennifer, Jasmine).
  • Mail even more catalogs to call-center focused buyers (Judy).
  • Reallocate cost savings to free shipping with a hurdle.
It's time to stop operating out of fear (USPS solvency, for instance).  Instead, focus on your strengths, and be happy with all of the things you do well.  You sell merchandise.  That never changes, regardless of the mix of channels being utilized.