As an upscale gifts Web marketer, casts a wide net. In November, the company increased its reach with a 1 million-piece mailing of its debut print catalog.

“About half of the addresses for the mailing came from the database of Reader’s Digest, which owns 80% of,” says president Ralph Pinto. The other 20% of names came from rented lists. Selection for the mailing was broad, reflecting the company’s aim to appeal to a wide range of gift buyers and gift-giving situations, he says.

Results from the November mailing have been satisfactory, “with an average order of $200 and a response rate of approximately 5%,” Pinto says. The average order may have been driven up by the fact that the most popular item was also one of the most expensive: a Panasonic video camera priced at more than $900. Other products range from a sushi-making kit for $39 to authentic gold Liberty coins for $999.

Pinto found that Web and catalog customers’ buying patterns differ. “People ended up buying more gifts for themselves from the catalog,” he says. “But it was also a Web driver. And when customers went to the Web, they tended to buy gifts for other people.” mailed 1 million copies of a Valentine’s Day catalog in January and plans to drop another 1 million catalogs in April. It also has a back-to-school mailing and three holiday mailings slated for 2001.

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