Catalog Choice testing frequency preference

Mail preference service Catalog Choice is testing a new frequency option that would allow consumers to choose how many times per year they would like to receive a brand’s catalog.

Catalog Choice worked with I-Centrix to build the program, which would integrate with catalogers’ merge/purge process, said April Smith, a spokeswoman for Catalog Choice, in an interview at the New England Mail Order Association’s (NEMOA) fall conference in Burlington, VT.

The program is currently being tested with retailers and will be introduced to consumers next month. Offering a frequency option for consumers “is clearly the direction the industry is headed,” Smith said, even if many catalogers can’t execute on it right now.

Catalog Choice had a better reception from catalogers in Burlington than at NEMOA’s spring conference, when many expressed anger over the organization’s Catalog Choice’s methods.

“When someone sends you a list of consumers that you have to stop mailing to, it gives you pause,” said Jim Feinson, president and CEO of America’s Gardening Resource, parent company of Gardener’s Supply, during a presentation on Thursday.

However, Catalog Choice is one of only two mail preference services accepted by Gardener’s Supply. This is partially due to the support it has seen from consumers; about 1 million people have signed up for Catalog Choice. The other preference service Gardener’s Supply accepts is the Direct Marketing Association’s mail preference program.

Approximately 40,000 consumers have opted out of Gardener’s Supply through Catalog Choice; many of them repeat buyers. However, after Gardener’s Supply contacted them directly and informed them that the company has its own mail preference service, 25% stayed on, opting to receive the catalog just once or twice a year.

“We have not seen a degradation in [overall] response because of respecting the requests of consumers” who have opted out, Feinson said.

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