After several years of circulation costs, consumer catalogers continue to hit the mail with a vengeance. Catalog Tracker, a service of Greenwich, CT-based list services firm Direct Media, received 322 consumer books this June, a 17% increase from the 275 catalogs received in June 2003. For the second quarter of 2004, Catalog Tracker logged in 1,117 catalogs — nearly 18% more than the 949 received during the second quarter of last year.
Free shipping and handling remains a popular offer among mailers. Nine percent of the catalogs received this June touted it, compared with 8% the previous June. Only 7% offered deferred billing, down from 8% a year earlier.
Among other offers, catalogers as diverse as Anglophile video mailer Acorn, teen girls’ apparel cataloger/retailer Delia’s, home improvement products marketer Improvements, and needlecrafts cataloger Mary Maxim promoted their frequent buyer/membership clubs. Beauty products title Bliss Out turned to that perennial promo of cosmetics companies, the free gift with purchase. But proving that marketers of makeup don’t have a monopoly on the offer, health and wellness title Healthy Living, prepared meals cataloger Home Bistro, and housewares book Back to Basics offered freebies with a purchase as well.
Several catalogers decided to usher in summer with sweepstakes. Barbie Collector (formerly Barbie Collectibles by Mail) tried to drive customers to its Website by promoting an online sweepstakes. Watersports cataloger Overton’s hyped its “super summer sweepstakes” on its front cover as well, boasting of prizes worth more than $115,000. Not to be outdone, jewelry, gifts, and home decor cataloger/retailer Ross-Simons was giving away a trip to Italy. Arrivederci, baby!
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