As the holiday shopping season revs up, it’s good to survey the competitive landscape. MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT will periodically take a look at the offers that merchants are touting in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This week, we take a look at what some of the food mailers are serving up.
Our Early Holiday 2005 edition of the Allen Brothers catalog featured a blurb on the front cover promising “Free Delivery. See insert card for details.” The insert card, however, offered a different promotion: four USDA Prime complete-trim 6-oz. filet mignons for $59.95, as opposed to the regular price of eight filets for $164.95. A visit to the Website didn’t immediately clarify matters. Near the bottom of the home page was a link to special offers; we then had to input the keycode from the back of the catalog to discover that we were indeed eligible for free delivery of $99 or more per address on orders placed by Nov. 15.
To attract corporate business, Almond Brothers added a dot whack on the front cover of its catalog offering “free logo set-up fee on all orders placed by Nov. 7th.” Never mind the dubious ability to offer a “free fee”; Almond Brothers normally charges $25 per logo. The catalog also noted on the front that it did not require minimum order sizes.
Chocolatier Bissinger’s had a faux dot whack on the front cover of its Thanksgiving 2005 catalog giving free freight “for Yourself and One Gift Recipient” on catalog and online orders placed by Nov. 22.
A cover wrap on our Hershey’s Business Gifts 2005 Gift Catalog had its own faux dot whack: “Save up to 20%. See inside cover.” Buyers could save 20% if they order at least $5,001 worth of merchandise by Nov. 28. Orders of $3,501-$5,000 receive a 15% discount; orders of $2,001-$3,500 a 10% discount; and orders of $1,000-$2,000 a 5% discount. The actual front cover of the catalog featured yet another fake dot whack: “Free Gift! See back cover for details”: Customers who order at least $50 worth of goodies by Nov. 14 receive a free tin of Hershey’s Kisses with Caramel.
On the front of its Season’s Greetings 2005 edition, Harry and David placed the cover line “Same Low Shipping & Handling” near the bottom, almost like a tagline. The cover also called out a deferred payment offer; as spelled out on the order form, shoppers who applied for and were approved for a Harry and David credit card could defer monthly payments until Feb. 1.
This year, as it did last year, Wine Country Gift Baskets encouraged customers to place holiday orders early by promising to ship and bill on the date requested. The merchant also offered its usual 5% discount on Web orders.
And on the cover of what is apparently a prospecting catalog, Zingerman’s entices newcomers with a 10% discount on their first order.