Publication date: 29/01/2009
Catalogue e-business magazine shares four reasons direct sellers are better equipped for doing business in tough—as well as not-so-tough—times
Ilfracombe, United Kingdom—Catalogue and online sellers outperformed bricks-and-mortar retailers for a number of reasons this past holiday season. And those reasons should help them ride out the recession in better shape than their store-based competitors.
Reason #1: Consumers have grown used to accessing the internet to gather product information and compare prices—“and once they’re online researching, they’re only a few clicks away from completing the purchase,” says Sherry Chiger, editorial director of trade magazine Catalogue e-business (www.catalog-biz.com). “Now it’s direct shopping, particularly online, that provides near-instant gratification, rather than heading out to a store.”
Reason #2: Direct shopping is eco-friendly. “Products delivered direct to homes travel fewer miles than those that pass through a conventional retail supply chain,” notes Nigel Swabey, chief executive of multititle cataloguer Scotts & Co and president of trade association Catalogue Exchange, in the February issue of Catalogue e-business. What’s more, given the prices of petrol and public transportation, postage and packaging charges are often far cheaper than the cost for a consumer to head out to a store.
Reason #3: Direct marketers can be more flexible. A cataloguer or online merchant who finds himself with an unexpected overstock of a particular item can put out a promotional email or change the price on his website that day. A bricks-and-mortar retailer cannot react as quickly, Chiger says. It’s also much easier and cheaper for a direct seller to test promotions and other marketing approaches to determine which is more effective.
Reason #4: A catalogue or a website makes it easier to help shoppers justify their purchase. “When consumers are watching their pennies, they have to provide solid reasons for every purchase, even if it’s something they really want,” Chiger explains. “‘This jumper is so gorgeous’ just won’t do anymore. In a bricks-and-mortar store, there’s not much, other than the product itself, to help the shopper rationalise an expenditure. But catalogues and websites can use benefit-driven copy, customer reviews, and good-better-best positioning to persuade the shopper and close the sale.”
“Shopping direct, whether it be online or through catalogues and call centres, is increasingly seen as being a smarter way to shop,” Swabey concludes. “Search engines enable us to find exactly what we are looking for in seconds. Price-comparison sites tell us what price we should pay. Orders can be placed 24/7. Most important of all: Having identified the migration online as being unstoppable, the shopping directors have now declared that direct is the ‘cool’ way to shop!”
For more information contact:
Sherry Chiger, editorial director, Catalogue e-business
Tel: 01271 866221
About Catalogue e-business:
With the strapline, “News, tactics, and views for cross-channel commerce”, Catalogue e-business is the leading publication for offline and online cataloguers and multichannel retailers in the UK. In addition to the print magazine, the Catalogue e-business family includes a website, www.catalog-biz.com, and Insight, a free fortnightly enewsletter offering tactical advice and industry research.