Abacus: Multichannel Shopping Grows in Popularity

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Multichannel purchasing has become mainstream as consumers increasingly switch between catalog and online shopping, according to the Fall 2002 Catalog Industry Trend Report from Abacus, a division of DoubleClick, which was released yesterday.

The report found that 39 percent of sales from catalog campaigns took place online for merchants with catalog and online sales channels. For those with catalog, online and retail sales channels, 33 percent of sales resulting from catalog campaigns came online, 23 percent were at retail locations and 44 percent came via the telephone.

Other findings:

· For marketers with online and catalog sales channels, online sales rose from 18 percent of total sales in first-quarter 2001 to 29 percent in first-quarter 2002. However, the amount slipped to 26 percent in the second quarter of this year.

· The timing of online and catalog orders resulting from a catalog mailing is very similar. Sales are typically high in the first four days but gradually decline in the following month. Sales usually fall on weekends, with catalog sales dropping more sharply than online orders.

· For multichannel marketers, house file mailings outperformed rental lists 3 to 1 in terms of dollars per book. House file mailings drove 46 percent of sales to retail and online order channels vs. 30 percent for rental lists.

· The demographic gap between online and catalog consumers is closing. But it remains wide enough to justify developing different marketing strategies to appeal to the different groups. Overall, in the past two years, online shoppers are increasingly older, less affluent and female.

· Because of the high percentage of sales conducted online, many catalogers reap benefits from Web site investments through lower transaction costs and reduced call-center staffing.

The report was compiled from the Abacus Alliance database consisting of transactional information from 1,800 clients.

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