If they are to survive in the increasingly competitive retailing market, traditional catalogers must take more advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet to increase sales, Martin McClanan, president of Flax Art & Design, will tell attendees at the Internet Retailer 2005 Conference and Exhibition next month in Chicago.
Traditional catalog marketers are growing only between 1% and 2% a year while Internet retail is growing at almost 30% a year, McClanan says.
“Catalogers should be positioned to take advantage of Internet retail more than anybody else,” he says. “Why aren’t they taking advantage of it?”
Many catalog companies still consider phone customers the most valuable even though that market segment is shrinking, McClanan says.
“So most catalogers gravitate towards maintaining those very profitable but dying telephone customers, and don’t necessarily embrace the Internet opportunity to the degree that they could,” he says. For example, few catalog businesses use their databases to analyze their Internet customers’ purchasing behavior, he says.
In addition, few catalogers take advantage of the unique marketing opportunities offered by web sites, McClanan says.
He notes that Flax later this year will be posting on its web site projects customers can do with their children and will also list all the materials needed for those projects. “We’re going to be using the Internet to engage our customers and get them to buy more products,” he says.
McClanan will address a general session from 9:30-10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7.