Lands' End Will Test Fall Books

Lands' End will experiment this fall with a variety of catalog mailings to gauge which variation will drive traffic to its Web site and boost sales for phone orders.

“Nothing has been finalized,” said Beverly Holmes, spokeswoman for the Dodgeville, WI-based company. “Right now we're in the process of creating different catalog variations for different audiences, not Internet customers alone.”

Among the tests Lands' End is considering is producing smaller books of 100 pages or fewer to send to online customers, instead of the typical 164-page book. While the campaign's main purpose is to gauge customers' reaction, it also is a way to lower catalog production costs, Holmes said.

“Anytime you reduce the number of pages or mailings, there's always going to be a cost savings,” she said. “This is a part of what we're doing, but it is not the overall goal.”

The fall campaign, which runs between October and December, is similar to a holiday test two years ago in which Lands' End mailed a series of regular catalogs, postcards and small foldout booklets to online consumers and in some cases mailed nothing.

“From that particular test, we realized we did need to mail something and it needs to be more than a postcard or flier. The catalog does provide the emphasis for someone to go to the Web site,” Holmes said, adding that the response rate for the online customers who received the catalog was higher than for those who received the postcard or foldout booklet.

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