Merchandising Key to Catalog Success

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BURLINGTON, VT -- Merchandising will be of utmost importance to catalogers' success as they move online, said consultant Bill Dean to attendees at the Vermont/New Hampshire Direct Marketing Group's 12th Annual Conference here yesterday.

"Pricing is overrated," said Dean, president of W.A. Dean & Associates, San Francisco. "People buy product. They need confirmation; they need information."

When surveyed, catalogers have said that 40 percent of the telephone calls their customer service representatives receive are from consumers who request information, Dean said.

Forming alliances with, for example, third-party fulfillment houses also will dictate success, he said.

"Stand alone, and you stand with Custer," Dean said, urging catalogers to build on their strengths and look to outside companies for expertise in other areas.

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