PI 400 -- Catalog Printing - Roller Coaster Ride
It's a belief that Arandell's clients hold, as well. "There is still, within a majority of our clients, a sense that business will resume to some degree and that there will be, in some cases, even more opportunity to grow their businesses within the catalog section," notes Treis.
In the short term, however, it is difficult to predict how 2002 will unfold. "Many customers are still trying to determine what makes the most sense for their own operations," says Paloian. "Few economists are predicting a strong recovery in the first half, yet the impact of proposed government 'economic boosts' remain unquantified. The anticipated third quarter postal rate increase will definitely cause some catalogs to refine their mail strategies."
Many catalogers are now considering the historical route of lighter weight papers and smaller trim sizes as ways to gain relief in postal and paper costs. "We find our clients to be more flexible with respect to product formats, as they look to take advantage of the diversity of the trim size offerings of our equipment," observes Paloian. "Many are now designing their final specifications to achieve maximum product-ivity on our manufacturing equipment, and are enjoying the economic and cycle time benefits associated with that approach."
Brown Printing also expects to see some changes from its customers. In particular, Traub predicts the decrease in some catalogers' circulation as business-to-consumer and business-to-business mailers watch economic trends. Traub also expects there will be less prospecting and mailing to marginal buyers in the coming months as catalogers focus on core clients.
Catalogers are now heavily focused on increasing revenues while reducing costs, according to Paloian. For some, this means combining what would have been multiple books into a single event, while for others it means an increase in clearance sections or the creation of entirely new "sale" books.