Direct Marketing, Mail Order, and E-commerce News from the National Mail Order Association

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SATISFACTION WITH MERCHANDISE AND VALUE INCREASE ACCORDING TO MILLARD GROUP ONLINE SURVEY

Peterborough, NH – Online customers rated their satisfaction level significantly higher this year than last for both merchandise and “good value for the money,” according to the most recent Millard Group Online Survey.  

Respondents who answered “excellent” increased from 48% in October 2003 to 56% in October 2004, while ratings for “excellent” regarding good value for the money increased by 15% to 53%.  These results were from Millard Group’s Online Coop Survey conducted in October, 2004.  

Millard Group has been conducting Online Coop Surveys on a quarterly basis since its first Post-Holiday survey in late December, 2002, in an effort to provide participating catalogs and ecommerce retailers with insight regarding their customers and their shopping behavior, as well as their perceptions of the catalogs’ Web sites.  Online retailers need not be Millard Group clients to participate in the surveys.

According to survey results, catalogs continue to out pull email messages as the impetus to visit an ecommerce site, with 88% of respondents indicating they are very or fairly likely to visit the Web site after receiving a catalog, compared to 83% after receiving an email message.  

There was a significant variance, however, between customer expectation and what they find in catalogs and on Web sites in the area of unique items.  While 52% indicated that finding unique items is the primary reason why they shop a catalog and/or its Web site, only 44% got what they wanted.

Abandonment rates continue to be high, but apparently not all is lost.  According to

Millard Group’s survey, 42% of those who abandon a site after placing an item in a shopping cart go back to purchase the item later.  Forty-one percent of respondents indicated that they have not abandoned a shopping cart that has an item for the catalog title for which they were responding, and 9% purchased an abandoned item from the catalog by later calling in the order.

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Post-Holiday Survey Offered 

Catalogers and Internet retailers are invited to find out what their customers think about them, from merchandise to creative, pricing to communications, via a unique Online Coop Survey developed by Millard Group's Decision Direct Research.   

Decision Direct Research conducts Online Coop Surveys on a quarterly basis in an effort to provide participating catalogs and Internet retailers with insight regarding their customers and their shopping behavior, as well as their perceptions of the company's Web site.  Retailers need not be Millard Group clients to participate in the surveys.  

These surveys are a great opportunity to find out what customers think of a company's products and services.  They focus on different issues each quarter that are important to catalogers, such as customer satisfaction, online services, and merchandise and value.  Each survey is comprised of roughly 20 questions, and the cost is only $750 per survey. 

Decision Direct Research's online surveys are easy for consumers to complete, and provide participating retailers with significant insight into how customers view their Web site.  The survey questions are the same for all participating retailers, and the final report provides data on how one catalog's results compare to the aggregated data for all the participating brands.   

“These online surveys provide participating companies with a plethora of valuable data regarding their customers and online shopping trends,” stated Lilliane LeBel, Vice President of Decision Direct Research.  “We have clients who participate every quarter because we include new questions to highlight topics that are especially important to them as direct merchants,” she continued.  

The Post-Holiday survey, to be fielded in early January, is accepting participants now, and focuses on:

Assessment of the holiday shopping experience (overall and by channel)

Channels shopped and channel mix this year vs. last

Spending by channel this year vs. last

Product satisfaction

Online shopping motivators

The role of promotions

The 2003 Post-Holiday survey had 50 titles participate, and this year's survey promises to be larger.   

Past surveys have included results on issues such as the decrease in brand loyalty, what value means to consumers, how easy or difficult it is to navigate a retailer's Web site, the lack of complete product descriptions, and free shipping as the most effective incentive for purchase.   

Millard Group, Inc. (www.millard.com), one of the nation’s leading service providers in direct marketing, offers list brokerage, list management, marketing research through Decision Direct Research, insert media, and Internet services.  Founded in 1977, the company’s business philosophy centers on customer service and depth of talent through the staff’s scope, expertise and tenure. The company is headquartered in Peterborough, N.H., and has offices in Darien, CT and San Diego, CA.

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