Use the Co-ops to Flag and Drop Dormant Households

Chances are that a household on your buyer file without any transactions within 12 months has moved. But those names can also be used as a suppression opportunity.

Sometimes when households move, they don’t get picked up in your normal National Change of Address (NCOA) processing, and merchants keep mailing them even though its buyers are no longer there.

Broad-based apparel and home goods catalog such as L.L. Bean or Land’s End may generate a response no matter who is living in the house. Some addresses may be responsive to catalogs even if a customer has moved and someone else has moved in. But a narrow niche catalog will have little hope of a profitable response if a buyer has moved away and the current resident receives the specialty catalog.

Use your co-op databases to flag the households with zero purchasing activity in the last six months, nine months, or 12 months. The co-ops can profile your house file and identify those households that have had zero mail order transactions across all the members of the database. Segment them and validate that they are good suppression opportunities and cut some waste out of your house file circulation.

Sometimes the household becomes dormant in terms of catalog buying activity because of reasons other than a move. Bad credit and ill health can suppress buying, or the only family member who bought by mail order may have moved away.

But whatever the reason, when a household stops buying, there is little point in sending it catalogs. You can cut out wasted circulation by identifying dormant households and eliminate them from your mailings.

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

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