Buy.com Tightens Database for CatalogBuy.com introduced a new look for the winter issue of its catalog and a slightly changed name -- BuyMagazine instead of Buy.com Magazine -- but the biggest change comes next month when it goes monthly.
Three million copies of the winter issue went out last week, down from the 5 million dropped for each of the first three issues since Buy.com began the publication in February. The number of copies will drop to 600,000 for the monthly issues.
The elimination of 2 million names from the winter issue "represents the work we did on our database and identifying our best customers," said publisher Stew Duncan. "We wanted to alert the people who have been good customers over the past year to the name change."
The 600,000 people who will get the monthly issues are the best and most active customers over the past year, Duncan said. Though the audience is much smaller than for the quarterly issues, he said, it should produce a positive return on investment.
"Not only is it still a large database," he said. "But on top of that it is very tight. This group is defined as an active spending audience that have made repeat purchases in the last 12 months, or made higher-than-average purchases. Targeting a better and more active group of prospects is an idea that has resonated very well with our advertisers and manufacturers."
Plus, more frequent mailings will let Buy.com provide customers with more "timely products and deals," he said.
Though primarily a catalog of the video games, DVDs and other electronics Buy.com sells, the company bills the publication as a magazine because of editorial features and advertisements in each issue. The redesigned book includes two to three more pages of editorial content, which translates to 10 feature articles in this first issue. And top-10 product lists will be provided for several categories.
A key aspect of the redesign is the use of real people instead of just products.
"Now we are adding images of people on the cover and inside the magazine using the products and a number of articles on the technology and products displayed in the magazine," he said. "This adds a lifestyle aspect to the magazine that people can respond and relate to. With people on the cover, it's more appealing to consumers. And by having a magazine feel to it, they could be inclined to keep it around longer."
The cover of the winter issue promotes a TV show buy.com will launch titled "BuyTV." Details on the show are still being worked out but Duncan said it will serve the same purpose as the magazine - to drive people to the Web site or to call the toll-free number to make purchases.
Duncan would not discuss specific results from the first three quarterly mailings but said business rose 20 percent in the eight weeks after the mailing of each magazine.
The first three issues of Buy.com averaged around 50 pages. The winter issue of BuyMagazine was 68 pages. Duncan said there is increased interest from advertisers and manufacturers, and he thinks monthly issues eventually could reach 80 pages.