|Discounts take a dive in May|
Discussing the issue with colleagues, we believe the continued decline of discounting in favour of offers like free shipping is down to cataloguers seeking to avoid devaluing their brand. With discounts so prevalent last year, perhaps some cataloguers are coming to realise that it’s not a race to the bottom. Offering money off trains consumers to expect to pay a certain price—and no more. Free shipping on the other hand, while still a burden on profits, does not cast the same shadow about how much goods are worth.
Only 7 percent of the catalogues we logged in May offered a free gift with purchase, compared with 8.8 percent last May and 10.9 percent in April 13. Usually the preserve of b-to-b cataloguers and gardening brands, last month we also tallied offers from apparel retailers; among them Witt, Seasalt and Madeleine Fashion.
Another decline we’ve tracked is the overall volume of catalogues we’ve received. At 86, May’s haul is the smallest of 2013 to date and down by a quarter on this time last year. Again, I feel this might be due to cataloguers keeping a close eye on mailing costs and removing unprofitable prospects from their lists. Saying that, we logged 119 catalogues in April 2013—28 percent more than the comparable month last year—so maybe the decline is more a seasonal choice than anything else. --MT
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