Baseball Catalog May Nix Book, Pitch Only Through Web
The Kingston, MA, marketer of baseball-themed gifts mailed its third annual book in May to 11,000 prospects and 20,000 names from its house file.
This year's average order rose slightly to $75-$80, and the response rate of just under 3 percent also bettered the 2 percent to 2.5 percent of the first two years. Still, company president Mike Hurm will wait until January to decide whether a book will be made next year.
"The cost of paper, printing and postage may make us become an e-tailer now that we have an established account base," he said. "If we had to decide now, we would either not produce one or only produce one and send it to people who have ordered from us in the past. It would include only proven products."
An increase in pages from 52 to 80 to accommodate a larger selection of merchandise sent the cost of producing and mailing the catalog up 20 percent this year.
Though sales would fall with the elimination of the book, Hurm thinks profitability could increase because his company would cut total expenditures 30 to 35 percent.
"Maintaining the Web site, www.everythingbaseballcatalog.com, is so much easier," he said. "All we have to do is maintain inventory. We just pull a product off the site if we run out of it. If customers order via the catalog, and we don't have it, then we're dealing on the front end with losing the order most of the time instead of getting them to choose something else.
"Also, eliminating the catalog would allow us to increase advertising and promotions in publications such as Baseball America and Junior Baseball."