Catalog Operations

The Catalog Operations functional area includes all aspects of selling through a catalog, which is a different perspective than simply the creation of catalog type advertising (tabs or mailers) that are more promotional in nature. Catalog managers have always struggled to understand their impact on sales through other channels; never has this been more challenging than since the rise of the e-commerce channel. Traditionally, catalog response was measured solely through orders generated in the fulfillment or call center, and these sales justified the expenses related to customer database maintenance, catalog production, and mailing costs. With the increase in internet sales and corresponding decrease in call center sales, catalog management is often left with the predicament of justifying their own costs. There is also great potential for retailers that can streamline direct operations (catalog and internet). Understanding how to best serve the multi-channel customer and provide them a seamless, branded experience is a significant challenge and an enormous opportunity for retailers. As with E-Commerce, there is a great deal of disparity in experience levels among individual retailers and retail sectors, making process information and experience extremely valuable when shared. Processes and related learning to review include:

  • Allocation and tracking of sales across channels
  • Merchandise Planning
  • Catalog Fulfillment
  • Integration of catalog customer data with internet and store information
  • Synergies in direct fulfillment processes and store pick-up
  • Merchandise presentation for the multi-channel customer