Catalog mail is most definitely on the radar of the U.S. Postal Service, according to Tom Foti, the agency’s manager, marketing mail.
During his session at the National Catalog Forum in Nashville last week, Foti told attendees that the USPS – as a top priority — wants to identify catalogs and manage them as a single product. Other priorities include the 2011 price change strategy (in lieu of next year’s scheduled exigent postal rate case) and operational cost saving initiatives.
“Catalog visibility is at an all-time high,” Foti said, referring to the USPS catalog industry team.
What’s more, he said, the USPS needs to work with catalogers to finalize a definition of a catalog and combine standard flats and carrier route products. “It creates a more acceptable representation of the product and use of product,” he noted. “We want to maintain existing price structures and existing makeup requirements.”
Regarding price, Foti said the USPS is trying to mitigate any “significant” increase. Volume commitments could lead to discounts for catalogers, he added.
Another initiative Foti discussed was reaching out to 35,000 e-tailers with annual sales of at least $3 million, espousing the benefits of catalogers. “This we believe will be good for the industry,” he said. “It’s a significant opportunity.”
Foti said the implementation of the flats sequencing system (FSS) can also help reduce costs for catalogers in the future, but how much savings remains to be seen. “We need to nail this down and figure out how to price these products and come up with a product cost coverage strategy,” he said.