After you’ve sent out your catalogs in anticipation for the fall/holiday seasons, it’s a good idea to employ some tracking methods using the data you’ve gathered from the sales generated by that particular catalog. Doing so requires familiarity and understanding of your customer base on an individual level, but it isn’t as challenging as it seems. This guide will help you understand how to build a base of such information, so that you can cut down on expenses and increase sales during future direct mail or catalog marketing campaigns.
If you aren’t already tracking and compiling customer information, you certainly should be! There are software options, ranging from complex sales optimization tools to manually created documents like spreadsheets. There is also, of course, the time-tested option of building real, personal relationships with your customers – something every savvy salesperson or marketing professional will do. It’s also likely that a combination of different efforts is the best fit for your business. Understanding and organizing your customers by their shopping habits, personal details and the field that they work in is a necessary step, regardless of how it’s done, and it will give you a set of data to compare your catalog sales against.
After you’ve mailed your catalog to your customers, start measuring the data surrounding its effectiveness, like sales (or the lack thereof). Ask some of the following important questions to get started:
What sells the most?
What started selling most quickly?
What seems to be selling poorly, or not at all?
How does the catalog overall seem to perform? (Remember to ask fellow sales or marketing coworkers AND customers their opinions or observations regarding the effectiveness of the catalog.)
Once you’ve taken in data like the answers to the above questions, you can start to gain a general picture of the effectiveness of the catalog. This is especially important in regards to identifying standout “duds” or products that stand out for selling well, at least in a more general sense.
As you start to gain more and more data from customers’ responses to your catalog, you can then begin examining the potential relationship between that data and the data you already have about the customers themselves. This gives you a better understanding of your customers, their likes, dislikes, purchasing habits and other tendencies. A few good places to start include the following:
Compare your customers’ respective fields with what specific products they respond to the most. Can you establish a trend? You can utilize this information to group products by how much you might emphasize them to a specific new customer who works in that field. This helps save your customer time and helps you make sales quickly and efficiently.
Are there items that seem to be sold in tandem or to the same “type” of customer often? If there are, examine the relationship between the two items, or look at what the data collected from the “type” of customer ordering that pairing tells you. This gives you an understanding of how customers view or use your products and how that relationship might be explored for more marketing success in the future.
These are just a few “starting points” for analyzing data from catalog sales. As the data you obtain from your catalog sales continues to increase, you can test and compare different variables while further refining your catalog design skills.