Monday, 11 July 2011

Cross-Atlantic's top 7 of 2011

Cross-Atlantic Insight is our enewsletter delivering international news direct to your inbox every fortnight. If you’re trading in overseas markets, or you simply want to stay abreast of what UK, European, and American direct marketers are doing beyond their own borders, you need to be on the list. Click here to sign up to receive the free enewsletter.

Curious to know what you've missed in the year to date? Catch up here with our seven biggest stories of 2011 so far, as measured by click-throughs
  1. Targeting the Nordics—with a mature ecommerce market, efficient postal system, and a good availability of prospecting data, Scandinavia presents an attractive opportunity, but there are several other points to consider too
  2. Compare and contrast Best Buy—analysing the differences between Best Buy's US website and its UK counterpart
  3. Compare and contrast Clarks—Clarks' overseas business is said to be booming with sales up 19 percent in the USA. So just what makes it so popular with American consumers?
  4. European online sales overtake the US—European online retail sales now exceed those in the US, according to a new report
  5. EU parliament adopts amended consumer rights rules—members of the European parliament (MEPs), the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection and the Council of the European Union agree amendments to the EU Consumer Rights Directive.
  6. Catalogues drive international sales for Next—Next doubles international sales and plans for more growth
  7. International study indicates huge potential for mobile retail—a report on mobile shopping shows that UK consumers are willing to shop by mobile and closing the gap on their US cousins--MT

Friday, 8 July 2011

Mid-year catch-up--best of Insight so far

We’ve passed the midpoint of 2011, so what better time to reflect and take a look at what’s been most popular with our readers to date.

Delivering strategic and tactical advice to subscribers of the CataloguesCatalogues enewsletter every week, here are the top seven Insight stories of 2011, as measured by click-throughs.

1. Seven easy tips for creating better catalogues -- there’s a science and an art to creating hardworking catalogues, so here are seven tips to help you succeed.

2. Seven email marketing trends for 2011 -- what should your email marketing strategy look like in 2011? Some trends to watch.

3. The year in review -- a roundup of the biggest stories of 2010

4. May Catalogue Log -- of the 91 catalogues we received in May, just 34 made no mention of a special offer on the cover.

5. A practical guide to marketing your website -- originally published in 2010, this article on planning online marketing activity is still popular in 2011.

6. Seven rules to follow when using social media for lead generation -- today’s consumers—and by extension, corporate customers—are ignoring traditional marketing channels. However, one marketing channel continues to open up new avenues for business-to-business companies—social.

7. Three tactics to make the most of email in 2011 -- top tips to help you make the most of email in 2011.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

June Catalogue Log

Talk about extremes. The June Catalogue Log recorded the highest ever percentage of catalogues offering a sale or discount on the cover, while also logging one of the lowest numbers of covers promising free delivery.

Offers promoted on catalogue covers in June

The summer sales started in earnest in June. Out of 81 catalogues received last month, 59.3 percent, or 48 catalogues, offered a sale or discount on the front cover. Further, only 29 catalogues had no offer on the cover at all—and of those, at least two had a special offer flyer inserted, or promoted a deal on the back cover. Clearly, cataloguers are being more aggressive in their promotional mail in order to boost revenues and shift stock in time for autumn.  But, this tactic comes at a price; at multititle group N Brown, which operates Simply Be, Jacamo, The Shoe Tailor and Marisota, for example, margin in the 18 weeks ended 2nd July declined by 0.2 percent due to discounting. Indeed, of 11 N Brown catalogues and inserts we’ve logged in just the past two months, all had promotional cover lines.
Up until now, July 2010 had been the most sales-dominated month, with 49.5 percent of covers promoting a discount--significantly lower than 2011’s 59.3 percent. For June 2010, 40 percent of covers featured a sale. The year before, discounting was even less popular, with only 34.1 percent of covers promising special prices in June. Does this signal that the sale season is starting earlier every year? Seems so; Marks & Spencer reportedly brought forward its sale by a fortnight this year, fuelling speculation that it was doing it to avoid losing business to other retailers, who were already discounting.

Wiggly Wigglers
Evidently though, one offer is enough for June’s cataloguers. In a distant second place, the next most popular offer was free delivery, offered by a mere 10 catalogues, or 12.3 percent. This is broadly in line with last year (14.7 percent) and more than June 2009 (8.5 percent). I can only assume that as margins are taking such a hit due to slashed prices, retailers cannot afford to send the goods for free too. Of the catalogues that did offer free shipping, most did so conditionally, for example, free delivery for orders of £100 or more at audio-visual cabling cataloguer Russ Andrews, or free p&p when you shop online at Simply Supplements. Among the more generous offers we noted was a Wiggly Wigglers insert with our order from childrenswear brand Frugi—it featured a 15 percent discount and free delivery to encourage me to place my first order there.
The third most popular offer in June was a free gift with purchase, promoted by 9.8 percent of catalogue covers. This is lower than last year’s 12.8 percent, and significantly lower than June 2009 when we logged 17.8 percent of covers offering a freebie as a thank-you for buying in June.

Our first Catalogue Log blog post was published in June 2009, since then we've learned that:
  • To date, 2011 has had the highest percentage of catalogues promoting a sale or discount, with an average of 46.1 percent of catalogues doing so every month.
  • Free delivery was most popular in 2010, offered on average by 1 in 5 catalogues per month.
  • Offering a free gift with purchase is normally a staple promotion on b-to-b catalogue covers. So far in 2011, an average 13.8 percent of catalogues a month feature a freebie on their front cover.
  • Free shipping is not a popular offer in June.
  • The most promotional month to date, offering a combination of sales, free p&p or free gifts, was February 2011, when more than two-thirds of catalogues featured some sort of special offer on the cover.
  • We received an average of 125 catalogues a month in 2009 and 111 catalogues a month in 2010.
  • In the first six months of 2011 we logged a monthly average of 108 catalogues.
  • Overall, in terms of volume, we tracked 81 catalogues in June 2010, that’s 8 percent more than last year (75 catalogues), but 42 percent less than June 2009 (140 catalogues).--MT