Focus On: Merchandising: Show 'Em Your Wares
The natural return rate for hard goods, home decor and jewelry can range from less than 2 percent to 9 percent depending on the category. Apparel, which achieves a much higher revenue per catalog, also has a much higher return rate of 10 percent to 15 percent. Add in shoes or other products with a more tailored, size-oriented or multiple-color SKU base — and apparel has an even higher return rate of 20 percent to 35 percent.
Non-profits have made good use of catalogs and fulfillment for fund development, donor solicitation and mission advancement. But merchandising and mailing catalogs means that you have to run the operation by the rules and metrics of businesses in the for-profit world.
Curt Barry is president of F. Curtis Barry & Co., a consultancy specializing in direct marketing operations and fulfillment, business strategies and benchmarking. E-mail him at email@example.com.