June 5, 2001, 12:00 AM

There’s no such thing as a pure-play cataloguer any more, says the DMA

A DMA survey of catalog companies found that 53% describe themselves as multi-channel retailers with catalog, web site and retail store operations, 42% describe themselves as catalog/web merchants.

The web is transforming the catalog business, according to figures from the Direct Marketing Association released at the 18th Annual Catalog Conference today. “There has been a shift in how catalog companies describe themselves and the shift has been toward multi-channel organizations,” H. Robert Wientzen, president and CEO of the DMA, told conference attendees.

A DMA survey of catalog companies found that 53% describe themselves as multi-channel retailers with catalog, web site and retail store operations, 42% describe themselves as catalog/web merchants. Only 3% describe themselves as cataloguers and only 2% as web-only merchants.

Problems with the U.S. Postal Service clearly are driving cataloguers to more aggressive web positions where they are less dependent on the U.S. mail to deliver their message to consumers. Direct marketers are skeptical of the future of the postal service, Wientzen said. ”We are facing nothing short of a genuine crisis in postal delivery,” Wientzen said. Symptoms of the Postal Service’s ailment include the “inflation busting” rate hike in January, the expected $2.3 billion loss for the year, another rate hike in July and expectations that the Postal Service will seek another rate hike-possibly as much as 10%--later this year to take effect next year. “These are Band-Aids on a life-threatening wound that needs immediate surgery,” he said.

 

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