Wider Book Sends Father's Day Sales Soaring

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Increasing the dimensions of RedEnvelope's Father's Day catalog contributed to a 100 percent increase in sales compared with last year at the cataloger.

"Whenever you change something in your catalog you're always curious of how it will perform, and for us, Father's Day was a validation of the new format," said Martin McClanan, RedEnvelope's CEO.

He would not say what sales were for Father's Day, but did say that sales were up not only from last year but were 20 percent more than RedEnvelope had projected.

The Father's Day catalog measured 8 inches by 9.5 inches, 2.5 inches wider than previous books. This will become the standard size for future mailings.

"The smaller book didn't give us enough room to work from a creative standpoint," McClanan said. "The larger size gave us the opportunity to present more products in a less condensed fashion, but it was still differentiated in the mailbox. Our catalog showcases lifestyle, and being an upscale brand, we want to be able to present items in a more comfortable fashion."

The holiday book, which mailed to 1.5 million recipients in May, also had 36 pages compared with last year's 24. The most popular categories were bar, wine and cigar; tools and gadgets; and grill and barbecue.

The book was designed using a combination of an outside design firm and inhouse creative. McClanan declined to identify the outside firm. The catalog also used both regular and digital photography. Digital photography was used for merchandise shots.

"Right now we're comfortable with how we use digital photography to display items," he said. "In the future we may opt to use it entirely, but for the moment we don't see any need to change what we're doing."

RedEnvelope targets households with incomes of more than $70,000 in large cities and suburban markets. About 60 percent are women ages 35 to 60.

The Father's Day catalog offered no special incentives, an item McClanan says the company tries to avoid.

"We had a couple of smaller promotions with portals on the site, but we didn't have any discount offers," he said. "We try to avoid discounting as a hook to get customers to buy our products. The company relies on strong merchandise to drive sales."

While catalog orders have increased over the year, more than half of orders come from RedEnvelope's Web site, and the catalogs continue to feature its Web address prominently throughout. There are no order forms; customers make catalog orders via the telephone.

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