Thursday, 4 February 2010

January Catalogue Log

After receiving just 62 catalogues in December, it was somewhat of a relief (except for the poor soul who has to file all the catalogues away) that volume heralding the new year was back to a more respectable 131 catalogues. That’s just nine catalogues fewer than received in November, but still lags far behind the 184 catalogues we received and logged in October. And that’s despite the country almost being brought to a standstill by the snow and ice in the first few days of 2010.

Apropos the weather, of the catalogues we received in January, business-to-business merchants Slingsby and Seton get kudos for making the most out of the “big freeze”. While the rest of us struggled to make it into work due to heavy snowfall and ice, Seton and Slingsby had put together catalogues to promote de-icing equipment and grit bins. But back to the stats.

Less than a third of the catalogues we received in January made no mention of special offers on their covers. As expected, from the month traditionally associated with retail sales, the number of catalogues offering a sale or discount was high, with 57, or 43.5 percent, of the catalogues we tallied promoting a price-related special offer. That’s 8.1 percent more than we received in January 2009. Yet, it wasn’t the highest number of sales and discounts recorded since we began compiling the Catalogue Log. That honour goes to August 2009, with 43.7 percent of the catalogues logged offering price promotions. The next highest number of discounts was recorded in May (42.6 percent).

Among the offers we received, we liked Catering Warehouse’s effort in creating a recommend-a-friend scheme. Although the incentive is small--£10 credit to customers’ accounts when they recommend the company to others—it shows the company is thinking outside the box and employing consumer marketing techniques to attract business customers.

Free delivery was also a more popular offer than it had been in November and December, with 28 catalogues (21.4 percent) advertising it on their front covers or covering letters in January. In fact, the figure was second only to October 2009, when we logged 21.7 percent of catalogues offering conditional or unconditional free delivery.

In December we logged just 6.5 percent of catalogues offering a free gift; in January that figure more than doubled. We calculated that 23 catalogues, or 17.6 percent, offered a free gift with purchase. It was the second-highest figure since we started recording incoming catalogues--a marginal second to June’s 17.8 percent.—MT

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