‘Tis the Season to Keep Remailing

The U.S. Postal Service’s huge May rate increase has prompted many catalogers to mail to less names. But does it mean they should also cut down on, or even eliminate, remails this holiday season?

Ho-ho-ho, was Geoff Batrouney’s reply to this question. Batrouney, the executive vice president of New Rochelle, NY-based list firm Estee Marketing Group, says ’tis the season to remail.

“Remails are essential,” Batrouney says. “Recall that on a good day, if as catalog receives an astounding 5% response rate, that means 95% of the customers threw it away and declined to order. Why? We never really know that answer, but we do know that if we send another catalog, we can trigger responses and generate sales at a time of year when timing and merchandising synchronicity are ideally matched.”

Catalogers should remail their house files two, three, or four times between mid November and Dec. 15, Batrouney says.

“We might not know exactly why the buyers order, or why the buyers do not order, but we do know that the only way to make the phones light up and the server to hum is to mail a book,” Batrouney says.

Determining the right number of remails, though, will depend on what the numbers tell you, Batrouney says. Look at the gross profit per piece mailed at the contribution margin level, and keep mailing until that figure turns negative.

If catalogers know that they can achieve break-even 12 days after they mail, and make money after that, then they know when to drop remail two and remail three, Batrouney says.

“Each remail cuts off the tail of the previous mailing,” he says. “But as long as it cuts off after break-even is achieved, all is well in River City on Main Street.”

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