Order Size Climbs at Jagged Edge

Nearly doubling the number of winter catalogs dropped this year and increasing upsell efforts have contributed to a double-digit rise in the average order amount for Jagged Edge Mountain Gear Inc.

Increasing the drop to 725,000 from 425,000 last year was not a gamble despite the economic downturn, executives said.

“Last year's catalog produced more than 8,000 orders,” said Jordan Campbell, the company's public relations and marketing director. “We were talking to customers who called, and they told us that they were thrilled with the book. We have three divisions, and last year we realized that the catalog division could really take off for us, and we haven't been disappointed.”

The winter 2002 book is producing an average order amount of $120 to $130, up from $90 last year.

“We've encouraged our customer service reps to try and encourage add-on sales, and that effort has been successful,” said Paula Quenemoen, executive vice president at Jagged Edge, Moab, UT.

The winter catalog's response rate is on target for 1.5 percent to 2 percent, a level that would please Quenemoen. Prospecting has been the key to the firm's success, as more than 90 percent of winter catalog recipients this year and last are prospects.

“Our market consists of outdoor enthusiasts, and we looked to acquire lists that included affluent shoppers who have the money to play in the outdoors,” Campbell said. “The lists we used included a blend of people who had a general interest in the outdoors, including skiers, hikers, climbers, campers, travelers and adventurers.”

Typical customers are in households with average annual incomes of $60,000 to $80,000.

Warmer temperatures in early December for much of the Northeast and Midwest have had little effect on sales.

“A lot of our customer base is in the Mountain states, and we're having one of the best winters here in a long time,” Quenemoen said. Colorado has produced the most sales, followed by Utah, California, Washington and New York, she said.

The page count increased to 36, from 32 the past two years. About 60 percent of items are new. Hot items include the Edelwiess vest ($65), Winter Sun headbands ($15) and matching hat ($24) and Tectonic ski and snowboard pants ($180 for men, $160 for women). Company personnel produced much of the photography, and about half the models are employees.

The envelope/order form in the middle of the winter 2000 and winter 2001 books has been replaced by shipping and ordering information on page 18 and an order form on page 19.

“That gave us two bonus pages, which provided more breathing room for the merchandise,” Quenemoen said. “Also, we had to print the envelopes far in advance. This change bought us six weeks of time to produce the catalog.”

One-quarter of the catalog business comes via the company's Web site, and the rest by phone.

Jagged Edge used 50-pound paper on the inside and 80-pound for the covers; last year 70-pound was used throughout the book. The catalog, printed by Sells Printing, Milwaukee, uses a 6-inch-by-10 7/8-inch slim-jim format. The per-piece cost for production, printing and postage was 48 cents.

“A larger format would have meant a different postal rate,” Quenemoen said. “The slim jim is the most efficient format for us. It gives us the biggest bang for the buck.”

Propeller Inc., Orem, UT, manages the company's warehouse, distribution and call center functions.

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