At once time, every catalog included an order form with attached reply envelope bound into the center of the book. Now, some argue, so many people order through the Internet that the order form and envelope have become an unnecessary expense. Is this really true?
Even if your customers don’t typically send you completed order forms through the mail, I’d encourage you to keep publishing one, for three reasons:
1. People look to the order form for information on shipping rates, guarantees, and other information that helps them order. An order form keeps this information together in a highly visible section of the catalog.
2. Many people use a printed order form as a tool to organize their thoughts before they call in an order.
3. Some merchants have found that the percentage of orders they receive through the mail has actually risen in the last couple years. The bad economy has made more people reluctant to use their credit cards, so phone and web orders have dipped and mail orders increased as a result.
I recently looked through several dozen 2010 gardening catalogs. About half still bind in an order form and reply envelope in the center of the catalog. Another 30% include an order form in the front, center or back of the book, but no reply envelope. And 20% have no order form at all.
While dispensing with a reply envelope may not seriously affect your sales, think twice before getting rid of your order form. It may have a more serious negative impact than you think.