Knowing How Your Customers Shop is the First Step

My parents have a PC. My 84-year-old father doesn’t use it. He’d be surprised to see my 83-year-old mother use it to go to a non-DOS-based website. If my mother, of course, was able to figure out her post-AOL-life.

So I wasn’t surprised when I saw this on my parents’ outgoing mail table the other day. And yes, I blurred out the return address label because they are among those who shred everything in case strangers sift through their garbage to find their personal identifiable information:


Yep. They’re mail-order shoppers. So if your catalog does not have an order form, they are not going to buy from you.

I understand something that my parents don’t: That catalog real estate is valuable, scarce, and hard to come by. They always ask me why certain catalogs don’t have order forms anymore. They don’t get it, but they understand  how they like to shop.

I’m not begging catalog mailers to bring back order forms. If your company does not receive much “fan mail” from people like my parents, with a merchandise order form enclosed, then by all means, carry on as usual.

But be sure you know your audience. If your customers are mailing their order forms to you, then keep on keeping on. And thank you for keeping my parents spending!