As you are aware our industry continues to change, which means we have to make good business decisions that drive results. Today, we bring you three topics that hopefully put you in a better position to run your business more efficiently. None of these topics are new, however it’s important to be reminded of them now and then to ensure you (and your team) keep them on your radar.

Postal Changes:  Postage changes continue to affect your bottom line. Not only do you have to be concerned with increases in postage fees for mailing catalogs, you now have to worry about parcel cost increases too. Both FedEx and UPS have announced parcel increases that will begin in 2015.

Are you packaging small orders in large boxes? If so, you might want to take a look at changing this to help reduce shipping fees. Be proactive and contact your FedEx and UPS representatives now to look at your current contract to find out how these postal increases will affect your business. The good news is FedEx Smartpost services will remain the same, also there are other carriers you might want to look at to see if they are competitive. FedEx and UPS aren’t the only game in town.

Testing: As you know, A/B mailing testing is an important component of your business. Susan J. McIntyre, Founder and Chief Strategist of McIntyre Direct, a catalog agency and consultancy in Portland, Oregon suggests ways to make sure your testing is working. Check out her most recent article to learn more about basic testing strategies. She says to “Focus the test on one element,” and “Make sure your systems can execute the test.” Too often we want to change many different components in our catalog to try to get the biggest impact from our consumers. When we do this we can never be sure which change impacted the results or how valid our testing was. Also, it’s important to make sure your systems (i.e. – Website, email, etc …) can accurately manage the testing for reliable results. For example, if you have a special offer for a segment of your audience it’s important that only that segment can retrieve that promotion. Otherwise your results will be unreliable.

Catalog Growth: Catalog circulation is steadily increasing for many catalogers. Steve Lett, the president of Lett Direct, recently gave his analysis based on 100 catalog customers. He talks about how the catalog is the single largest driver of prospects to a website. Without the catalog how do new consumers find you? Also, he focuses on the importance of lifetime value (LTV). Buyers who find your products via your catalog tend to become repeat buyers. These buyers are likely your most important buyers to cater to.

Please make sure you take an extra minute to read the hyperlinks in this article. We’re certain you’ll enjoy the detailed content!