Catalog eCommerce Business Audit - a Detailed Look
Our Catalog eCommerce Business Audit (Assessment) is a detailed look at every aspect of your business. As a starting point, we use an audit tool that you can find on this page (Catalog eCommerce Business Assessment Tool). You can also use this tool as a self audit, but the tool is for collecting the data which we analyze and then provide feedback and recommendations.
The analysis includes an overall assessment of the current business model, it's profitability and revenue potential, and take a detailed look at marketing, merchandising, catalog creative and catalog operations. The following is outline of the topics and areas reviewed:
- Marketing Strategy
- Customer Acquisition and Retention Strategies and Programs
- Customer Reactivation Strategies and Programs
- Circulation Plan and Mailing Activity Analysis
- Current and Past Sales Plans, Forecast and Results
- Merchandising Selection and Sales Analysis
- Catalog Creative
- Financial Results
- Database Marketing and Fulfillment Metrics
- Catalog Operations: Customer Service, Order Processing and Fulfillment
The analysis is broken into two phases, an on-site visit discovery phase during which we conduct in-depth discussions on the topics outlined with your in-house team and supporting service bureaus/contractors. If the service bureaus are remote, interviews with them can be done at your offices or mine. The second phase, which involves doing the detailed catalog and circulation analytics, will be performed off-site. Typically, it will take two to three days to complete the first phase. Based on the number of catalogs we will be reviewing, say for example 4 catalogs, the typical analysis would take ten days to complete the second phase of the project, 8 days for the actual analysis and two days for compiling the results and producing a report of the findings and recommendations from the on-site meetings and the catalog and circulation analytics.
As you might imagine, the actual time we spend on each topic depends upon the issues that need to be addressed, the availability of the appropriate people in your organization and any subcontractors that you may use for the program, as well as to access the operational, financial and marketing data. If the data is in a form that does not provide for easy and quick analysis, it will be necessary to recompile the data. This will require additional time.
Below is an outline of what's covered in the audit during each phase.
Phase I of Analysis
The following is the list of topics that need to be addressed along with the time normally spent on each aspect of the review. (The timeframes given are typical examples. Depending on your business model and number of catalogs, the timeline may defer.
A. On-site: Explanation of current program status including:
- Introduction to marketing / operational team
- Company mission statement, philosophy, overall objectives
- Current mailing schedule vs. last year and prior if available
- Review of current and past catalogs
- Overview of past and present sales, growth, and customer acquisition success
- Overview of program marketing and operational costs (P&Ls if available)
- A review of problems/issues and primary points of concern
Time required: 1/2 day
B. On-site: Examination of data captured during order entry and catalog request entry, and other marketing, merchandising and sales information from the operating system including:
- Assessment of data entry and data capture capabilities
- Review all reports, their sources and uses
- Review all details known about customer base such as demographics, etc.
Time required: 1/2 day
C. On-site: Examination of marketing strategies, programs and activities:
- Current customer acquisition strategy vs. last year (review results vs. goals) (past years)
- Review current and past circulation plans, customer acquisition, mailing and merge-purge strategies
- Review current and past catalog request generation plan and strategy
- Review house file make up with particular emphasis on number of 1-time buyers and complete review of RFM and/or other segmentation and or modeling techniques being used in order to:
- Evaluate current need for reactivation and/or development of retention plan
- Evaluate single vs. multi-purchase customers and design appropriate re-mail strategy, etc.
Time required: 1/2 day depending on the number and availability of reports and issues identified that require more in-depth exploration
D. On-site: Examination of merchandising and supporting fulfillment operations strategies and activities including:
- Merchandise changes and or merchandise philosophy
- Average units and average order values and response rates
- Assessment of backorder situation, lost sales and other data capture information
- Assessment of current fulfillment turn around times, pick/pack issues, etc.
Time required: 1/2 day
E. On-site: Examination of operational systems, procedures and activities that have an impact on customer service
- Review internal operations reports including receiving, quality assurance, inventory control, replenishment and picking, packing and shipping
- Review merchandise returns and backorder reports
- Review call center customer reports
- Review call center monitoring reports
- Review any customer satisfaction surveys and other direct customer feedback on service and merchandise.
Time required: 1/2 day depending on the number and availability of reports and issues identified that require more in depth exploration.
Phase II of Analysis
Examination of catalog performance – marketing, merchandise, creative, circulation and competitive analysis
- Review marketing and characteristics, including:
- Positioning in marketplace
- Selling proposition
- Presentation and effectiveness of essential customer information: ease of ordering, guarantees, customer services
- Offer assessment
- Review of creative, including:
- Overall visual presentation: layout, design, photography, propping, use of models, etc.
- Design features
- Copy and copy tone: effectiveness, features and benefits
- Merchandising analysis, including:
- Evaluation of merchandising concept and mix
- Merchandise organization
- Pagination and navigation
- Category analysis
- Pricing analysis
- Space analysis – square inch analysis
- Space utilization
- Profitability and revenue contribution analysis
- Circulation analysis, including:
- Front end catalog request lead generation
- Circulation plan
- Mailing activity analysis
- Review of competitive catalogs in the same category – performance trends for those catalogs
To find out more about our products and services, click here or call us today at (651) 315-7588.