How to Lower Your Catalog Costs

In order to lower catalog costs you should start by partnering with a mailing professional like Dingley. We can guide you through the postal network to ensure postage savings paired with mailing accuracy and speedy delivery. However, there are many other opportunities beyond postage to help you save money.

Select the Right Partner

When you select a printing partner it’s important to align your catalog with their capabilities and equipment to take full advantage of cost savings. For example, a printer may have a specific catalog size they specialize in to work optimally on their presses. Staying with your printer’s standard sizes results in more efficient productivity and creates less paper waste.

Paper

Dingley buys large quantities of common papers which can translate into discounted pricing. Consider asking what “house papers” are available to see if one will work for you.

Aligning your page count to “even” signatures decreases make-readies and saves on production costs. A signature is a group of pages printed in one pass through the press. Your greatest economy in page count is to print in increments of even signatures; such as 16, 24, 32, and 48.

Both paper weight and grade are important considerations for decreasing paper costs, which is your second largest expense in producing a catalog (postage being number one). Lighter weight papers typically have little impact on consumer purchasing decisions so using less pounds of paper can lower this expense and provide an added benefit of lower postage costs too. And, don’t forget to look at changing your paper grade, it can certainly impact your bottom line.

Mailing

Co-mailing saves you significant money on postage. Co-mailing combines circulations of many catalogs together into a single, presorted mailing stream qualifying for carrier route delivering. Combining multiple titles into a mailstream, provides generous postal discounts that you don’t want to miss out on. Also, using add-a-name or add-an-address increases carrier route volume and can qualify you for additional discounts. The USPS is looking for mail that runs most efficient on their equipment and return you keep money in your pocket. They are examining mail carefully before it enters their system. If the primary address data is wrong and it can’t be delivered, you may lose automation discounts, which can add up for high-volume mailers. So there’s plenty of incentive for providing clean mail files. Talk to your Dingley sales representative to learn more about postal concerns.

Don’t forget that clean mail files make a difference. National Change of Address (NCOA) should always be used since more than 40 million Americans move each year and Standard Mail will not be forwarded to these new addresses. NCOA is updated every two weeks so you must always do this to ensure you are finding everyone on your mail list. And don’t forget those on the Deceased Do Not Contact List. This list allows grieving families to remove deceased loved ones from mailing lists and avoids wasted circulation.

Design

Consider the size, shape, page count and paper which all can impact catalog costs. Finding design and proofing errors early is equally important. Delivering problematic print files will increase costs and can impact print/bind/mail schedules.

Catalogers should ALWAYS maximize page count to increase the level of revenue generated per catalog mailed; assuming you have enough merchandise to fill those pages. Adding pages can lower your incremental break-even while increasing revenue. In 2017, the weight increased from 3.3 oz. up to 4 oz. so you should definitely take advantage of that since there is no increase in postage to do so.

If you still use Bind-in Order Form/Envelopes consider printing the order form on a page in the catalog instead. Prices for these add-ons are expensive and many catalogers don’t really need them anymore, plus they add weight to your catalog increasing postal costs. Use the extra space in your catalog to sell more merchandise.

For more information contact your Dingley sales representative. You’ll be glad you did!!

About the Author: Rob Nowak

Strategest and Project Manager in a wide variety of business processes. Particularly interested in developing customer relationships, new technology research and deployment as welll as managing small to large projects to strengthen our position as a market leader and help catalogers adopt technology to grow their business.