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Catalog Marketing Assessment Program
The catalog marketing assessment program exams all aspects of your catalog business including your eCommerce components. It's designed to help you identify opportunities and areas for improvement. This page presents the processes we follow and the topics that we address when we conduct a catalog marketing assessment. The review needs to be conducted as outlined so that we can give you a thorough assessment of your catalog marketing and operations and to be able to suggest any necessary corrective actions that might be taken to set the catalog on a course towards growth and profitability.
The audit examines all aspects of your catalog business including:
- 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 and eCommerce Creative
- Financial Results
- Database Marketing and Fulfillment Metrics
- Catalog and eCommerce 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 fulfillment operations and service bureaus are remote or outsourced, interviews with them can either be conducted by phone or in person depending on the complexity and extent of off-site and/or outsourced operations.
The second phase which involves doing the detailed catalog and circulation analytics will be performed off-site at our offices. Typically, it will take two to five days to complete the first phase. depending on the size of your catalog and eCommerce store. The second phase depends on the number of catalogs being reviewed and the size of those catalogs as well as your eCommerce efforts. It involves the actual analysis and days that are required for compiling the results and producing a report of the findings and recommendations from the on-site meetings and the eCommerce/catalog and circulation analytics.
The actual time we spend on each topic depends upon the issues that need to be addressed, the availability of the appropriate people at your company and any subcontractors that you may use for the program, as well as 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.
Typical Project Outline
The typical project can last from 20 to 30 days depending on the extent of online and offline catalog / eCommerce activities as well as the size and complexity of the merchandise assortments. The following is the list of topics that need to be addressed in each aspect of the review.
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
- Current eCommerce program and operations
- Hand out current and previous catalogs and review
- 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
B. On-site: Examination of data captured during order entry and catalog request entry, and the availability of 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.
C. On-site: Examination of marketing strategies, programs and activities:
- Customer acquisition strategy vs. last year (review results vs. goals) (past years)
- Review current circulation plan, customer acquisition, mailing and merge purge strategy
- Review of eCommerce online programs
- Review current catalog request generation plan and strategy
- Review current 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 retention plan
- Evaluate single vs. multi purchase customers and design appropriate re-mail strategy, etc.
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 back order situation, lost sales and other data capture information
- Assessment of current fulfillment turn around times, pick/pack issues, etc.
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.
A. Examination of on and offline 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:
- Circulation plan
- Mailing activity analysis
- Review of competitive catalogs in the same category – performance trends for those catalogs
B. Compellation of findings and production and presentation of eCommerce/catalog assessment report.