In what has become a trend, all of our new catalogs this month started as Websites.
Shortly after Marsha and John Zimmerman became the happy parents of twins in 1998, they realized they had few options for products and services geared to multiple-birth parents. To take some of the struggle out of being parents of twins, the couple launched a Twins Help Website (www.twinshelp.com) in October 1999, followed by a 24-page print catalog in June 2000.
The catalog sells products such as coordinated clothing for children and diaper bags that hold enough gear for two tykes. It also features hints and tips on parenting multiples.
“Probably our biggest challenge has been finding suitable mailing lists,” John Zimmerman says. The cataloger depends heavily on the Twins magazine subscriber file and the lists of regional organizations devoted to multiple births. But finding a list company to help target this niche has been difficult, he says — despite the fact that 2.6% of all U.S. births are twins.
The Zimmermans, who run operations under their firm, Miller Zimmerman Ltd., were impressed with the catalog’s response rate of more than 3%. Orders averaged $50-$100, with silk-screened T-shirts being the most popular items. The company plans four mailings in 2001, of at least 30,000 books each, and more if they can find additional sources of names.
Product category: products for multiples First mailing date: June 2000 Size of mailing: 30,000 Target customer: parents, friends, and families of multiples Price range: $2-$500 Competitors: Multiple Trends Frequency: four times a year Number of pages: 24 Size: 8-3/8″ × 10-7/8″ Telephone: 888-440-8946
In hopes to help more consumers find that next Monet — or Renoir, or Picasso — Web marketer Next Monet launched a print catalog. The company has more than 10,000 original works of fine art available on its Website; the 56-page catalog that dropped in November sells more than 130 images, both framed and unframed, with prices ranging from $150 to $25,000.
The first mailing went to 350,000 names, 95% of which were rented, says founder/CEO Myrna Nickelsen. The catalog targeted previous art consumers ages 27-47 with an annual income of more than $75,0000.
Nickelsen says she was pleasantly surprised at the initial results. The average order size during the first week was $3,500; at press time, further analysis had not yet been done.
The catalog’s performance made Nickelsen a believer in direct mail: “It was a less-expensive way to let people know that we exist than traditional advertising, and we could target it more readily with rented names.” The company tentatively plans to mail the catalog quarterly.
Product category: original art First mailing date: November 2000 Size of mailing: 350,000 Target customer: upscale consumers ages 27-47 Price range: $150-$25,000 Competitors: Art and Artifact Frequency: four times a year Number of pages: 56 Size: 9″ × 11″ Telephone: 877-696-6638
Hoping to put a glow on the faces of upscale consumers, high-end cosmetics marketer Glo launched a 34-page catalog in November 2000. The catalog sells beauty products such as Sud Pacifique fragrances and Therapy Systems skin care, with prices ranging from $8 to $195.
In addition to serving as a sales channel, the book is part of Glo’s aggressive brand-building campaign, says spokesperson Kelley Kovak. Glo believes the catalog is less expensive and has greater revenue potential than traditional advertising. “It’s the strongest marketing vehicle we have and it reaches the most people,” Kovak says. The company also has three stores and a Website (glodirect.com).
Of the 210,000 women who received the initial mailing, 90% came from rented lists. The others were Glo customers or requesters. The company targets women 25 and older who wear designer clothing. “The merchandise appeals to active working women with a certain amount of disposable income,” Kovak says.
The catalog’s initial results met company expectations, netting an average order of $111 and a response rate of approximately 1.5%. The next mailing, a drop of 350,000, is scheduled for this month.
Product category: cosmetics First mailing date: November 2000 Size of mailing: 210,000 Target customer: affluent women ages 25 and up Price range: $8-$195 Competitors: Bliss, Beehive Botanicals Frequency: four times a year Number of pages: 34 Size: 6-1/2″ × 9″ Telephone: 800-462-5790
As an upscale gifts Web marketer, Gifts.com 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 Gifts.com,” says Gifts.com 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.” Gifts.com 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.
Product category: gifts First mailing date: November 2000 Size of mailing: 1 million Target customer: gift buyers Price range: $100-$1,000 Competitors: Ross-Simons, Red Envelope Frequency: six times a year Number of pages: 48 Size: 8″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 877-455-4438