Among them, Crew Clothing tested a number of offers, including 15 percent off, free delivery and free returns; 20 percent off plus free delivery and returns and £25 off. Figleaves, Great Little Trading Co, Saltwater and Russ Andrews also sought to tempt shoppers with money off their orders. And it’s not just discounting—cataloguers are throwing in more incentives to persuade consumers to shop with them. The percentage of catalogues offering free delivery rose from 18 percent in November 2010 to 20.8 percent in November 2011. As a hook, apparel cataloguers coupled free delivery with free returns—as seen at White Stuff, Pure Collection and Brora.
When it came to free gifts, however, more catalogues used the tactic in the 2010 festive season than this year. It was just a marginal decrease though, from 8.4 percent in November 2010 to 7.3 percent in 2011. Among those promoting a free gift with purchase were angling catalogue Fishtec, packaging catalogue Rajapack, Laithwaites Wines, and kitchenware brand Jean Patrique, which gave away a free kettle.
November 2011 was generally more promotional on a year-on-year basis with more than half of the catalogues (51.1 percent) featuring some sort of offer on the cover (sale, discount, free delivery or free gift), compared with 46.7 percent in 2010. But it wasn’t on a month-on-month basis. The Catalogue Log shows, in what may seem a counter-intuitive move compared with how the high street is tackling Christmas, that as the big day approaches, cataloguers are toning down their aggressive promotional strategies. Just take a look back at September, when 39.4 percent of catalogues featured a sale or discount on the cover compared to 32.6 percent in November. In October, that percentage rose to 41.9 percent. More prevalent in the festive period 2011 are free delivery offers, which make home shopping even more convenient at this time of year. The 20.8 percent we tracked last month is the highest percentage recorded since August and up on last November’s 18 percent. Those offering free delivery included Bettys, M and M Direct and Lands’ End.
In total, we received 178 catalogues in November 2011, a 6.6 percent increase on the same month last year, and a 16.2 increase on November 2009. It is the highest number received in 2011--MT