Use Co-ops to Track Transferring Customers

Chances are that a customer or household that used to shop a lot but has no transactions has moved. Look at these dormant households as a suppression opportunity. Sometimes when households move, they don’t get picked up in your normal National Change of Address processing and you keep mailing them even though your buyers are no longer there.

Your cooperative database can profile your house file and identify those households that have had no mail order transactions across all the members of the database in the last 6 months, 9 months, or 12 months.

Ask your database to flag the households with no purchasing activity. Segment them and validate that they are good suppression opportunities and cut some waste out of your house file circulation.

Some addresses may be responsive to catalogs even if your customer has moved and someone else has moved in. A broad based apparel catalog such as L.L. Bean or Land’s End may deliver response no matter who is living in the house. But a narrow niche catalog, say one selling water ski’s or parrot food or Southwestern Art will have little hope of a profitable response if a buyer has moved away and someone else has moved in.

Sometimes the household becomes dormant in terms of mail order activity because of reasons other than a move. Bad credit, ill health, or the only family member who bought by mail order may have moved away. But whatever the reason, when a household stops buying, you can cut out wasted circulation by identifying dormant households and stop mailing them.

Jim Coogan is president of Santa Fe, NM-based consultancy Catalog Marketing Economics.

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