Catalogs Important to E-Commerce Growth, USPS Survey Finds

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New research conducted for the U.S. Postal Service shows that a business doubles its chances of making an online sale by mailing a catalog.

The Multichannel Catalog Study, which was completed earlier this year, was conducted by comScore Networks Inc., Reston, VA, for the USPS. The results were announced at yesterday's catalog conference in Chicago.

Other key findings include:

· Catalog recipients account for 22 percent of traffic to a cataloger's Web site and 37 percent of its e-commerce dollars.

· Catalog recipients make 16 percent more visits to that company's Web site, view 22 percent more pages and spend 14 percent more time at the Web site than those who did not receive a catalog.

· Catalog recipients are twice as likely to purchase online. They also purchase more often and spend more on each purchase occasion.

· The total dollars spent on a Web site by a catalog recipient is $39 compared to $18 for consumers who did not receive a catalog.

· Consumers who received a catalog within the last 30 days are more likely to purchase online and buy more frequently than those who received a catalog more than 30 days ago.

"As the Internet markets got more sophisticated, they felt the need for catalogs was going away, but that's a myth," said Rick Arvonio, manager of product management at the postal service "The reality is that catalogs have never been more important than in the Internet environment."

Seventy-seven percent of retailers sent out catalogs in 2002, but that number dropped last year to 55 percent "because they felt they were on the Internet, they didn't need the catalog any longer," Arvonio said.

The full report will be released next month, but more research is available at USPS booth 328 at the conference.


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