Help is on the way

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.

Partner Content

The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
Being prepared for the holiday rush used to mean stocking shelves and making sure your associates were ready for the long hours. But the digital revolution has changed everything, most importantly, customer expectations. Retailers with a physical store presence should be asking themselves—what am I doing to wow the customer?
3 Critical Components to Achieving the Perfect Order - NetSuite
Explore the 3 critical components to delivering the perfect order.
Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.
Strategies for Maximizing Mobile Point-of-Sale Technology - NetSuite
Learn the top five innovative ways to utilize your mobile POS technology to drive customer engagement, increase sales and elevate your brand.