Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Bid Now in the ECMOD Silent Auction

ECMOD’s chosen charity this year is Teenage Cancer Trust, which relies solely on donations to do its vital work. Through our fundraising this year, we're helping the organisation transform the lives of young people with cancer.

Thanks to our very kind clients, Direct Commerce magazine readers, ECMOD exhibitors and sponsors, there are lots of great items to bid for in this year’s ECMOD Direct Commerce Show Silent Auction—visit our online form to place your bids.

Prizes that have been donated so far include:
  • A corporate hospitality package for an Npower football championship game from Spatial Global
  • A brand/creative review by The Specialist Works, which will include either a finished press ad, a four-page insert or brochure, a storyboard for a TV ad, or a finished radio ad
  • A coalition email, waiving set-up and campaign fees, from Marketing Innovation Group
  • A 3mx2m stand at ECMOD 2013
  • A four-page pullout in Direct Commerce magazine
  • Stadium tour of Stamford Bridge, courtesy of Chelsea FC
  • Social Media Support package from IndiumTraining
  •  Voice branding worth £1,000 from Difference Corp
All proceeds go to the Teenage Cancer Trust, so please get involved—place your bid now!

Monday, 19 November 2012

See you at ECMOD

James and I will be covering the ECMOD Show this year, which takes place on 27th and 28th November at the Business Design Centre, London.

As well as attending the conference and featuring our pick of the sessions in this blog and upcoming editions of the magazine, we will also manage the Direct Commerce stand on the exhibition floor. Please drop by and say hello!

We’d love to meet readers, advertisers and potential new contributors at the show, so please get in touch if you’re attending. My email is miri@catalog-biz.com and you can reach James on jamesd@catalog-biz.com.

See you there!

To find out more about ECMOD, visit ecmod360.co.uk.

Friday, 16 November 2012

In the mail: November

They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but in the world of catalogues the front cover is definitely important. As Bob Ashwood of The Catalogue People wrote in Seven easy tips for creating better catalogues, “catalogues need to work hard. They need to engage, inform and motivate. We call it salesmanship in print. From front to back cover, you have the opportunity to make sales at every turn of the page”.

This is why, in this month’s In the Mail, I’ve chosen a collection that I feel really stands out from the crowd.
Bloomsbury & Co

Bloomsbury & Co
Website: www.bloomsburystore.com
Format: 220mm x 167mm, 40pp, no order form
Special offer on the cover: no
Addressing: polywrapped, address on carrier sheet, delivered by Royal Mail
Range: eclectic gifts
Delivery: £3.95 standard, guaranteed next-day delivery £6.95, orders of £10 or less £1.95
Why I like it: quirky but functional, the Bloomsbury & Co catalogue is packed with unusual gifts and can seem quite chaotic at times with its myriad fonts and type sizes. But it remains really easy to shop from: product descriptions are where they should be, the telephone number and website are prominently displayed, and there was plenty of engaging content to keep me reading. What’s more, the way the catalogue is laid out, with so much packed into its 40 pages, each page demands a second look—for good reasons.
What’s missing: The offer of 15 percent off a first order is featured on the back cover and not the front. This is a bit of a missed opportunity. 

Honey Tree Publishing
Honey Tree Bespoke Stationers
Website: www.honeytreepublishing.com
Edition: Autumn 2012
Format: 210mm x 148mm, 8-page foldout mailer
Special offer on the cover: yes, 10% off plus free gift wrap with personal message and free p&p
Addressing: no polywrap, address printed on back, delivered by Royal Mail
Range: Personalised stationery
Delivery: free
Why I like it: The mailer is immediately appealing with Christmas lights, glittery stars and ribbons adorning the front cover. The USPs of bespoke and personalised stationery are strengthened by the message Made in Somerset, indicating that this is no mass-market product, but something that is lovingly created here in the UK. Other messages on the cover include no-risk guarantees, free standard delivery and the availability of a next-day express service. I also liked that Honey Tree called out the fact there were gifts to suit all budgets—as a non-essential product it’s good to know there are a range of price points to tempt customers in. It may be an exclusive product, but the mailer is very much an inclusive invite.
What’s missing: As a direct mail piece, it does the job very well and ticks a lot of boxes. If I had to make a suggestion, I would not have included the kitchen label range in this mailer and kept the focus on gifts.  A large amount of space is given to the labels, when it could be better spent on focusing on some of the bestselling motifs or writing fonts available.

Website: www.letterbox.co.uk
Edition: Bright Ideas Collection
Format: 210mm x 148mm, 36pp, order form on back cover
Special offer on the cover: no
Addressing: in envelope
Range: Children’s toys
Delivery: Standard UK p&p £3.50
Why I like it: The Christmassy cover does it for me. Shaped like a tree, each “branch” is punctuated by a product from the range, given customers an at-a-glance look at what’s on sale inside. I also really like how the catalogue is colour-coded with each section clearly labelled, for example “arts and crafts”, “little ones”, and “personalised”. Although the catalogue is only 36 pages, the breadth of the range means the index on the inside front cover is very handy indeed.
What it’s missing: I seem to remember the Letterbox catalogue used to be A4-sized. Now half that, I think some of the type is too small—especially the What’s inside and Birthday Club copy on the inside front cover.  For the next edition I would like to see a slightly larger catalogue, not necessarily A4, but just a tad bigger than the  current offering.--MT

Thursday, 15 November 2012

What's on at the ECMOD Show

The ECMOD Direct Commerce Show, which takes place at the Business Design Centre on November 27th-28th, has pulled out all the stops to ensure ECMOD lives up to the promise of “Every Channel: Mastered, Optimised, Delivered”.

Now in its 22nd year, ECMOD delivers a show that combines the sharing of knowledge from inspirational speakers in the two-day conference, with an exhibition that brings together the systems, services, technology and expertise to address the ever changing needs of the multichannel retailer.

Don’t Miss…
Co-located with US-based Data Driven Business Week, which brings its international exhibitors to a UK audience, the combined exhibition space houses more than 80 specialist companies. Not only will visitors and delegates benefit from demonstrations of the latest products and learn in detail about the latest industry innovations, there’s all this too:

Fantastic Free Seminars
Industry giant Barclaycard has teamed up with ecommerce solutions specialist Powa to host two seminars on the 27th and 28th November dedicated to provide visitors with all the information they need to start selling online. These practical, best-practice sessions explain how to build an online store in less than an hour and why there has never been a better time to expand your online business.

Peruse the Catalogue Gallery
This year’s show will see the return of the Catalogue Gallery, sponsored by Warners Midlands, where visitors will see one of the most extensive collections of print catalogues you’ll find anywhere. Visitors are free to browse an array of more than 1,200 catalogues. If you want us to display your catalogue, then post your latest editions to the ECMOD offices, 155 High Street, Ilfracombe, EX34 9EZ before 20th November.

Win a Catalogue Makeover Courtesy of TA Design
The popular competition is back for its fifth year offering ECMOD visitors a free catalogue design makeover by catalogue specialist TA Design – worth up to £7,200! This is a very cost-effective offer in these turbulent times to help enhance your positioning and your sales for free.

Fancy Winning £2,500 Worth of Ecommerce Consultancy?
Head over to Metakinetic on stand 9 at the ECMOD show to enter a competition for your chance to win £2,500 worth of consultancy from its team of ecommerce experts on topics such as search marketing, ecommerce strategy and technical issues. And if that is not enough, Metakinetic is also giving away free popcorn.

Latte Love from Sanderson
After a heady morning on the exhibition floor, what could be more welcome than stopping for a coffee in the company of your peers? Sponsored by software solutions provider Sanderson, ECMOD visitors will be able to grab a coffee at any one of the coffee stands on the exhibition floor. While you’re there, why not pop along and say hello to the Sanderson team on stand 79?

How About a Cookie With That Coffee?
MediaLab, a fully integrated direct marketing agency offering advice on sourcing and provision of cold data, press and third party inserts, traditional print and digital media buying, e-crm and broadcasting services, lead generation and web optimisation will have a cookie machine on stand 28. So if you’re feeling a bit peckish you know where to go!

Workbooks and Wall Planners Available with Mohn Media
Visitors to ECMOD 2012 who want to talk about their print production can visit print and media services provider Mohn Media on stand 47 to take a look at its state-of-the-art machinery park with a brand-new 96-page web offset press. As a thank-you to interested visitors Mohn Media will keep workbooks and wall planners for you.

Free Catalogue Critiques
Creative agency Pindar Creative is offering visitors free catalogue critiques. Delegates can leave a copy of their catalogue on stand 11 and Pindar Creative will then get back to them with a report/suggestions on how they might improve the effectiveness of their catalogue design.

Who Will Win an ECMOD Supplier of the Year Award 2012?
With a record 138 suppliers receiving nominations, the ECMOD 2012 Supplier of the Year Awards presentation promises to be an exciting evening for all suppliers and their clients. The high number of entries means there are 34 companies competing for the spoils in just eleven categories in what is set to be one of the closest contests since the awards were launched nine years ago. The winners will be announced on the evening of the 27th November at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. Click here to find out if your favourite supplier has made the cut.

Join CatEx DCA and Chase Paymentech for Breakfast
Mark your diary now for the members-only CatEx DCA Networking Breakfast place on 28th November during this year’s ECMOD Direct Commerce Show. Taking place from 8.10am to 9am, this is a fantastic opportunity for some early morning networking with like-minded business leaders over coffee. Tickets cost just £17.50 + VAT, but thanks to sponsor, payment processing specialist Chase Paymentech, CatEx DCA members who are exhibiting, speaking or attending the ECMOD Conference on the day receive a complimentary invite. To book, call the CatEx DCA team on 08718 555 545 or visit the CatEx DCA website. Remember… only CatEx DCA members have access to this exclusive opportunity, to find out more about becoming part of the trade body representing businesses in the direct commerce sector, visit catexdca.org.uk.

To take advantage of these offers and much more at the ECMOD Direct Commerce show, register now for your visitor pass

For more information about the ECMOD Conference, click here

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Five Reasons Why You Should Visit ECMOD 2012

If you sell purely online, by printed catalogue, DRTV, or if you employ multiple channels to reach your customers, at the ECMOD Direct Commerce show, you can be sure every exhibiting business has a real commitment to supporting companies in the direct commerce sector.

Held at the Business Design Centre, London on 27th and 28th November, ECMOD is once again co-located with Rising Media’s Data Driven Business Week to bring its Conversion Conference, eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and Predictive Analytics World conferences to a UK audience.

Educational and informative, ECMOD is the must-visit event of 2012. Here’s why:

1. Fantastic Free Seminars
Industry giant Barclaycard has teamed up with ecommerce solutions specialist Powa to host two seminars on the 27th and 28th November dedicated to provide visitors with all the information they need to start selling online. These practical, best-practice sessions explain how to build an online store in less than an hour and why there has never been a better time to expand your online business.

2. Essential Networking and Inspiration
ECMOD fosters a friendly atmosphere of open debate between like-minded individuals. At the show there will be scores of people looking to share ideas, express concerns and progress in the ever challenging sector. Take the time to and mingle with fellow entrepreneurs, business leaders and pioneers; this is one environment where you’re sure to find inspiration.

3. Unrivalled Learning Opportunities
This year there will be a diverse range of speakers and exhibitors, who will be on-hand to help optimise your business to its full potential. From recruitment services to ecommerce, logistics to creative, any query you have will be answered professionally and extensively. Further, if you book a place on the ECMOD Conference, you will gain access to the combined wisdom of more than 80 of the industry’s greatest minds. In a nutshell, the ECMOD Conference won’t just tell you WHAT to do but HOW to do it.

4. Beat Your Competitors
Be the first to find out about the newest products and services with the chance to meet over 60 specialist suppliers to the direct commerce sector.

5. Supplier of the Year Awards
The ECMOD Supplier of the Year Awards recognise the outstanding contribution that supplier organisations make to the direct commerce sector. Unlike many others, these awards expressly call for nominations from client companies, and the winners will be those that received the most votes. Join us for an exciting evening where we will crown this year’s star suppliers. Tickets for the Awards are free for all registered visitors.

To visit this year’s exhibition, completely free of charge, click here.  

To find out more about the conference, click here.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

ECMOD Supplier Award shortlist announced

The ECMOD organisers have announce the shortlist for the ECMOD Supplier of the Year Awards.
With a record 138 suppliers receiving nominations from some 420 client-side companies, the 2012 awards evening promises to be an exciting event for all finalists and their clients.

The record number of entries means there are 34 companies competing for the spoils in just eleven categories, in what is set to be one of the closest contests since the awards were launched nine years ago.
The eleven winners will be announced on the evening of the 27th November at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

Huge congratulations to all the companies that have made it this far. Has your star supplier made the shortlist?

ARM Leeds
Catalogues 4 Business
Citizen Communications
Garnett Dickinson
IPH Global
Keystone Software
Ogone Payment Services
Postcode Anywhere
Prism DM
Royal Mail    
The Specialist Works
Williams Commerce
Join us for the conference during the day and attend the awards ceremony in the evening at no additional cost. Review the speakers, sessions, topics and workshops and book your conference places on the ECMOD website.

For further information on attending the ECMOD Direct Commerce Show call the ECMOD team on 01271 866112 or register online for your free entry to the exhibition hall.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Christmas early birds

One of our friends told us she’s already completed her Christmas shopping for 2012. We don’t know for sure, but we like to think it’s because canny email marketers are already sending their Christmas offers. Here are some of the early birds we’ve spotted nesting in our inbox:

You never know quite what you’ll get in a Firebox email, but we can all imagine the monstrosity that is a collection of “The World’s Best Christmas Jumpers, Ever”, which also happens to be the email’s subject line. The copy reads: “The festive season is fast approaching, and we’ve got the World’s Best Christmas Jumpers, Ever. Plus, some nice new additions to the Big Face T-Shirt range, customised coasters and cufflinks and some really Cynical Tea Bags.” Firebox knows novelty—and wears it so very well.

We want to get all “handmade” this Christmas, but we’ll probably end up getting all our presents gift-wrapped at checkout. Still, Notonthehighstreet does a stellar job in inspiring us to try a little bit harder this year.

Donald Russell
If, like us, you’re already thinking about your Christmas Day dinner, you’ll appreciate this email from Donald Russell. Pure carnivore heaven. But the best bit is clicking through to savour Donald Russell’s full Christmas menu. Yum.--MT

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

October Catalogue Log

I was talking to a former ecommerce director recently who told me of his time at the online retailer he previously worked at. He and his team had been working on a free delivery offer that was supposed to be emailed to only the most loyal segment of the database. Instead, he had hit send to the entire—considerably large—customer list. While he was getting ready to grovel to the boss and apologise for eroding margins, the results of the promotion came in showing a major sales uplift and a healthy ROI. From then on, free delivery became a staple offer.

Perhaps taking a leaf out of the same book, free delivery is also a staple offer on catalogue covers. Consistently throughout 2012, free delivery has featured on around one-fifth to one-quarter of all cover lines.  In October, free delivery was promoted on 26.3 percent, or 45 out of 171 catalogue covers. Not only is that the highest percentage for 2012, it’s the highest percentage we've ever logged, narrowly beating March 2012’s 26.1 percent. Among those promoting free shipping were Cath Kidston (free delivery on order of £30 or more), Dukeshill Ham (free delivery on a first order), Hayloft Plants (free p&p on orders of £50 or more) and Traidcraft, which set no conditions.

As with previous months, many cataloguers teamed up free delivery with another offer. One of the most promotionally heavy mailers during October was arts and crafts books seller Search Press, which offered a free book with orders of £40 or more, free p&p on all orders of £15 or more—extended to free delivery for all online orders, and a free gift with every purchase. Another bookseller, Red House, promoted selected titles at half price or less, free delivery and a free calendar when spending £25 or more.

While we’re on the topic of freebies, free gifts were slightly more popular than they had been in September, featuring on 8.8 percent of the catalogues we logged. That’s slightly higher than October 2011, but lower than the 10.2 percent we tracked in October 2010.

All told, 60 percent of the 171 catalogues we tracked in October featured some sort of special offer. That’s the highest percentage since June and much more promotional than October in 2011 or 2010, which both hovered around the 50 percent mark. It's also worth noting at this point that catalogue volume was up again in October; 171 catalogues compared with 167 in October 2011.

The most popular offer promoted on catalogues last month was still a discount or sale, which saw a resurgence in October. We tallied 74 catalogues, 43.3 percent, touting a special price promotion, including Elderberry (Save 10 percent on order of £40 or more), Evans (20 percent off an order of £40 or more), Lands’ End (25 percent off everything) and Tradewinds Direct (10 percent off everything).

Last year, we tracked a similar percentage (41.9 percent) offering a sale or discount on the cover. It was followed by a steep drop in November (to 32.6 percent) and then back up to 53.7 percent for the final Christmas push. The same pattern was recorded in 2010, with the popularity of price-based promotions declining appreciably in November and soaring again in December. I will be keeping my eyes peeled as to whether the trend continues in 2012.--MT

** Ever wondered how we compile the Catalogue Log? Come along to ECMOD and see for yourself. 
The Catalogue Gallery, sponsored by Warners Midlands is one of the most extensive collections of print catalogues you'll find anywhere. 
Want to feature your work? Be sure to send your catalogues for display. Post them to Catalogue Log, First Floor Offices, 155 High Street, Ilfracombe, Devon, EX34 9EZ** 

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Dart’s data: the couch potato issue

If you are a retailer that sells through DRTV or are considering doing so, take note of some interesting research from IMRG and Thinkbox to help convert viewers into buyers.

According to the latest eCustomerServiceIndex, conducted by eDigitalResearch and IMRG, 80 percent of smartphone owners, 81 percent of tablet owners and 73 percent of laptop owners use their devices in front of the television in a process that has been dubbed “second screening”.

The study highlights retail websites were amongst the most popular sites to visit and browse as were social media sites and search engines. Almost half of users (41 percent) were encouraged to browse for a product after seeing something on a television programme or advert with nearly one third (30 percent) having made a purchase afterwards.

If this highlights the influence that TV has on consumer behaviour, another study by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Thinkbox really drives home the message. Its survey of 2,000 UK adults shows that 40 percent of people in Britain believe that programmes or adverts they have watched on television has inspired them to act more positively, such as donating to charity, being more environmentally friendly, eating more healthily or taking part in sport.

Breaking this down, the report shows 43 percent of those inspired by TV advertising have been encouraged to give to charity, compared to 33 percent for TV programmes. The study highlights that TV inspired positive behaviour more than any other medium with the internet (16 percent), newspapers (16 percent), radio (14 percent), magazines (14 percent), the high street (9 percent) and direct mail (6 percent).--JD