Cambridge, MA—Amid concerns of an economic slowdown, the mood at the spring session of the New England Mail Order Association (NEMOA) was nothing short of cautious. “Consumers simply aren’t buying as often as they did just a few months ago,” says Michelle Rick, customer acquisition director for Charlottesville, VA-based consumer electronics cataloger Crutchfield, perhaps best summing up the mood. Other factors discussed by the crowd of 325 in attendance include spiraling credit card debt, the falling Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the recent flurry of layoffs.
International Auto Parts, a cataloger that also happens to be based in Charlottesville, VA, has cut back its prospecting from a previously planned 30% increase to just 8% this spring, due to slowing sales, says vice president finance and operations William Sauer. International Auto Parts is also scaling back the number of pages in its catalog, Sauer says, though he won’t reveal the exact count. The cataloger will concentrate on mailing more heavily to its buyer file than on cold prospecting, he adds.
This spring, “catalogers have been cutting back in prospecting, mailing to the most profitable segments of their house files,” says Scarsdale, NY-based database consultant Michael Grant.