Catalogue Fulfilment and Distribution
Once printed, you will need think about your catalogue fulfilment and distribution, and sending to your customers as soon as possible. This can be done in numerous ways. The first step is to organise your mailing list.
Compiling your Customer Data
Once your catalogue design and catalogue production is complete, a seamless transition to the mailing process needs to be undertaken. If you have a good database of all your customers, this process becomes much simpler. It is worth cleansing your data from time to time, you may look for customers who have ordered from you over the last two or three years and ensure they are on your list. Additionally, you can extrapolate the customers that have not ordered from you in recent years and add them to another list for a customer reactivation campaign
For your main, primary mailing to current customers it is also worth checking the integrity of your data from time to time. Calling your customers to cheque that the contact you have within the organisation is still there and ensuring they have not moved officers can save you wasting money on an unnecessary mailing and of course lose your business..
If you did choose to segment your historic customer data and compile a lapsed customer list, this can be used for a different type of promotion. To reactivate a lapsed customer, you may choose to include a discount voucher or free gift with their order. If this is successful, and they place an order with you this will reactivate then and hopefully keep them ordering from you in the future.
Different Types of Catalogue
There are dedicated mailing houses who do nothing but direct mail. They can cleanse your data, check for duplicate entries and source the cheapest methods of getting your catalogues to your customers.
However, many of the larger printing companies who will have handled your catalogue printing, offer a mailing and distribution service. A benefit of this is that you do not need to transport your printed catalogues to a different location for them to be bagged, the fulfilment handled, labelled, and sent.
This can be a big saving. If you have produced many thousands of catalogues the weight can be substantial, therefore, to get them from the catalogue printers to a separate mailing company may involve several vans or even lorries. This additional expenditure can add a great deal to your catalogue design and catalogue production budget. We are all aware that fuel prices have escalated substantially over recent years. Additionally, from an environmental point of view, the less travel and movement of catalogues the better.
Catalogue Delivery Options and Services
There are a lot of organisations that offer services to pick up and deliver your catalogues. Some of these offer a cheap and basic service, where there is no tracking of your printed catalogues, and the service may take a few days. This can result in lost catalogues or damage to catalogues whilst they are sat in warehouses or in the back of lorries. The cheaper companies will offer less protection for your catalogues so if there is any damage done it may be at your expense.
Alternatively, at the other end of the scale, there are companies that offer very rigid tracking of your printed catalogues with the aim of ensuring every single one arrives safely at its destination. They may also offer a faster overnight service ensuring your catalogues are not sat around at the risk of being damaged.
This obviously comes at a price. But if you have invested in the highest quality catalogue design and production, with the highest standards of catalogue printing you will have already made a large investment. Therefore, you may think it is worth the additional for this extra level of protection and faster service.
Along with these private distribution companies we have mentioned, is Royal Mail who offer a few different services. They have services for large mailings, such as 10s of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of printed catalogues. Services can also relate to the amount of time taken to deliver your catalogues.
These can be next day services through to cheaper services, where delivery to your customer may take around 5 days. As an example, if you were to send over 1000 catalogues to your customer database, and would like them delivered next day, the best method through Royal Mail maybe their advertising mail services. If, however, you were not in a rush to get the catalogues on your customers doorsteps and you are happy to wait a few more days advertising mail economy would be a suitable alternative.
To use Royal Mail services, you will need to set up an account. You will be then appointed a customer service manager who can advise on the best method of distribution of your printed catalogues using their services. You can also set up an account with them so payment can be made later.
Ways to Package your Catalogues
There are a number of ways to send out your catalogues. You can send out in plain envelopes with the addresses printed onto the front or labels stuck on the front. Additionally, you can create your own printed envelopes that give an indication of what it is that is within the envelope, so the customer has an advanced warning that your new catalogue is contained within.
A very popular method of printed catalogue distribution is to wrap them in a clear Poly bag. There are then several ways to add your customers address details. This can be a label stuck on the outer side of the Poly bag, oh you can print onto the back of your catalogue so the recipient’s details can be seen through the clear bag. Another very popular method is to insert a carrier sheet. A carrier sheet is a sheet of paper that has the recipients address details printed onto it. This can be a blank sheet of paper alternatively you may take the opportunity to print onto it. This carrier sheet can be a great opportunity to advise the catalogue recipients of new products in the catalogue, special offers or discounts.
In conclusion there are numerous ways to get your catalogues from your catalogue printer to your customers. It can be confusing and if not done correctly can cost you unnecessary expenditure. We would always recommend discussing the options with an expert. This may be your Royal Mail representative, an advisor in the mailing house oh a specialist in your printer’s distribution department.
For more information on our services, or to discuss your exact requirements with one of our expert design team, feel free to get in touch.
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