Secret Shopper Finds Catalogers Selling Out

Plenty of catalogs boasted about accepting Christmas orders as late as Dec. 23. But while they may have had the capability to do so, many mailers didn’t have the merchandise in stock.

CATALOG AGE’s Secret Shopper called 15 consumer catalogs on Dec. 22 and 23 to request 41 products for Christmas delivery. Only 23 of the requested items, or 56%, were available.

Women’s apparel cataloger Victoria’s Secret fared the worst, with none of the three requested products in stock. Home decor cataloger/retailer Pottery Barn and jewelry and gifts marketer Ross-Simons were the only companies contacted to have all three of the items requested available. What’s more, Ross-Simons said it would assume the express delivery charge for Christmas delivery. Pottery Barn wasn’t quite so accommodating: Not only did it charge an extra $15 for guaranteed Christmas delivery, but as Secret Shopper was fumbling for the SKU numbers of the desired products, the phone rep said politely but firmly, “Come on, we’re wastin’ time if you want me to get this to you by Christmas.”

Surcharges for rush delivery varied hugely. Home decor cataloger Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, which had two of the three requested items in stock, charged the most–$62. But apparel cataloger/retailer Talbots, like Ross-Simons, charged only its usual shipping rate. Talbots also offered arguably the best customer service: When one of the three items requested was found to be out of stock, the service rep recommended a similar, less expensive item and offered a 10% discount on it since the first choice was unavailable.

Partner Content

Hincapie Sportswear Finds Omnichannel Success in the Cloud - Netsuite
For more and more companies, a cloud-based unified data solution is the way to make this happen. Custom cycling apparel maker Hincapie Sportswear has leveraged this capability to gain greater visibility into revenue streams, turning opportunities into sales more quickly while gaining overall operating efficiency. Download this ecommerce special report from Multichannel Merchant to more.
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.