Thursday, 7 June 2012

May Catalogue Log

As well as familiar names such as Crew Clothing, Lands’ End, Charles Tyrwhitt and 4imprint, it was great to see the Catalogue Log track new catalogue titles last month. It was also interesting to note that more than 60 percent of the 114 catalogues we logged featured a special offer of some sort on their front cover: exactly half of them featured a sale or discount, 21 percent promoted free shipping and almost 9 percent touted a free gift with purchase.

Among the new additions to the Catalogue Log was Swimwear365, the latest title from Freemans Grattan Holdings. Featuring 48 pages of swimwear and hot-weather essentials, Swimwear 365 sought to tempt us into placing our first order with a 20 percent discount.

ILoveGorgeous sent us its Summer 2012 catalogue of girls’ apparel, featuring some pretty cool sparkly plimsolls that made me wish I was eight years old again and able to carry off the look. ILoveGorgeous used free delivery and free returns as its attention grabber--just in case the plimsolls didn’t fit.

Despite having been around since 2006, BAM was a completely new name to me. It mailed us its Summer 2012 catalogue featuring a collection of sportswear made from bamboo. The range includes long-sleeve base layers that promise to be “thermo controlling, antistatic, super soft” and yoga pants that are “moisture wicking, antibacterial, ultra comfy”.  According to the company history on page 38, this is only the company’s second-ever catalogue. I love the friendly copy on the catalogue’s how-to-shop page, in particular the returns information: “Within 14 days ideally, or if you haven’t worn it except to try it on, after that we’re pretty flexible too. We pay for exchanged items to be sent. If we’ve messed up—rare, but we’re only human!—you don’t pay anything”. It seems to be proving a hit with customers; its Feefo feedback satisfaction score is 99 percent for service and 99 percent for product. To further attempt to eke out a first order from us, the catalogue promotes a “4 for 3” promotion across the entire range.

Potentially the most generous of the new titles was Shipton & Co, a jewellery catalogue. As well as a 50 percent off sale, interest-free credit on higher-value purchases, free p&p on orders of £100 or more, the catalogue also promises a free freshwater pearl bracelet with every order. 

Other special offers included a free “calcuruler” from packaging catalogue Rajapack, 15 percent off everything at Great Little Trading Company and 15 percent off at Argento. The jewellery retailer also hid another offer within the catalogue. Tucked away on page 33 of 40 was free UK delivery on all orders over £30. I’m a big fan of free delivery offers and think that if it’s on offer it should be promoted on the cover. It adds another incentive for the recipient to look inside.

In total, 61.4 percent of the catalogues we received in May featured a special offer, roughly in line with May last year, when 62.2 percent of the 90 catalogues we received did so. As usual, a sale or discount was the most popular—promoted on 50 percent of the covers, and only marginally higher than May 2011’s 48.9 percent. Free delivery was featured on 24 catalogues, or 21 percent, of covers in May 2012; again, ahead of last year’s 17.8 percent. But free gifts were less popular, just 8.8 percent of catalogues promoted a freebie in May 2012, compared with 11.1 percent in May 11, and 20.5 percent in May 10.--MT

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