There have been a number of significant changes in Mail order in the last 5 years
mainly brought about by the rise in availability of fast internet connections.
Traditionally mail order was about printed catalogues and newpaper advertising.
The cost of getting to market was high with design print and distribution costs
and the success of the business relied a lot on customer loyalty, working your lists
and maintainin your margins. Although these are still important there are a
number of factors at work which mean that these elements are not as important as
Cost of Entry
Now that any one can register a domain name and with a copy of OScommerce or one
of a dozen different free or low cost web store creators can propel themselves
into mail order, the cost of reaching your customers has signifcantly reduced.
With digital cameras and email, there is very little expense in generating
quality content and delivering your message to market. This means that there is
much more 'noise' and to rise above it requires new techniques and a new mindset
With the rise in the web and the number of on-line outlets was the development of
comparison web-sites and search engine technology to find the most relevant sites
and the best deals. Consumers are now much more value driven than in the past and
your good name will count for little if your prices are not in line with the market.
Premium products will still command premium prices but unfortunately in many cases,
premium service will not.
Cost of delivery
Long gone are the days of 28 day delivery, if it is not there in 28 hours, your
customers will be screaming. This requires you to have a full visibility of stock
availability and efficient processes to ensure that those goods are despatched the
same day and delivered overnight by your delivery partner.
Changing marketing patterns
In the past you worked your mailing lists and sent out your catalogues and your
customers called you up or sent you a cheque. Although still valuable, your lists
are probably not the goldmine they used to be as customers are more fickle about
who they buy from and the catalgue being the primary trigger for purchase is now
more likely to send the customer to your web site to place the order. Recruitment
of new customers is more likely to come from Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and
savvy email press camaigns to drive traffic to your site than directly to your
catalogue. These chaning patterns require new tactics and also mean that your
prosperity now relys even more heavily on your ability to get your message out
on time and on budget and achieve your lowest possible cost per order.