Given that this month we report on the rise in retail returns fraud, a dearth of industry mergers and acquisitions, and the steady stream of multichannel merchants laying off staff (page 8), it’s kind of hard to retain a sunny outlook.
But there is some good news.
For one, there’s the May postal rate hike, which is never a welcome event, but at least the 2.3% increase for catalogs, or Standard Mail Flats, is lower than the 4.3% average rise for Carrier Route Flats. It’s even less than the 2008 Consumer Price Index it can now be pegged to, which was 3.8%.
(By the way, you can thank the American Catalog Mailers Association for this slight break on postage. By all accounts, the two-year-old ACMA played a key role in getting the current plight of the print cataloger in front of the U.S. Postal Service rate makers.)
Then there’s the report that after falling for the past six months, retail sales in January increased 1%. While this number is nothing to get too excited about — especially since few analysts think it can be sustained with the recent spike in unemployment — it was nonetheless a pleasant surprise when most were expecting another drop.
Finally, there’s the content of this issue, which tells you how to master local search engine optimization; audit your business and move it forward; look to your past merchandise successes to create new product winners; and make your shipping a profit center. And those are just a few of the articles we have this month to help you get your business through these tough times.
There’s no question that what’s starting out as a bad year is very likely to get worse. But the great thing about the multichannel marketing industry is that so many people are willing to share what they know to help others.
Take advantage of that, and hang in there.