Timscris launches own-label catalogue


Timscris Holdings, which works with newspapers to create
reader-offer catalogues, has launched an own-brand title,
LifeStylesatHome. The new catalogue is separate from Timscris’s
existing mail order operation Lifestyles Direct, which creates
cobranded catalogue inserts and mailers and white-label websites
for partners including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The
Daily Mail
, and Radio Times.
The launch follows an October 2009 management buyout of Timscris
led by the company’s senior management team, a process that began
after the 2008 death of founder and managing director Chris
Gates.

A review of the business this past summer led the management team
to test several marketing initiatives. One of these was a
catalogue to accompany the LifeStylesatHome website, which was
soft-launched the previous year.

“Whilst the LifeStylesatHome website was performing
well,” says the brand’s marketing director, Paul Harris,
“to achieve a desirable return on investment in the costs
of maintaining and developing the site, a greater level of sales
was required. The economic climate was always going to be a
consideration, but the pre-Christmas period has historically been
when the company has enjoyed its highest volume of sales by some
margin compared to the rest of the year. Thus it was agreed that
?the company would invest in a marketing campaign that would
exploit the full potential of this busy period.”

Timscris inserted more than 180,000 catalogues in The Daily
Express
in November. The 32-page catalogue was developed
with Gary Bigwood at design agency A4CS. Harris describes its
main objectives as “to introduce the brand to a range of
new consumers and at the same time reinforce the brand with our
existing, online consumers”. Another aim was to drive
traffic to the website and generate further revenue from
grey-market shoppers who may be reluctant to shop online.
Products range from soft furnishings to homewares, from
typewriters to electronic gadgets.

Timscris has avoided undercutting its media clients and is
selling the products in its catalogue for the same price as the
reader offers. In addition, it will insert the catalogue only in
titles that do not run the cobranded offers. In the future,
though, “the range will include more products with margins
that disqualify them as reader-offer products but which still
make them viable as part of the LifeStylesatHome product
range,” Harris says.

Timscris intends to distribute the catalogue seasonally from now
on, but plans have yet to be finalised. “This first
catalogue will provide us with an insight into how profitably the
costs of inserting, mailing, package insert swaps, and
bounce-backs can be recouped from this side of the business, as
well as the catalogue’s effect on the online business.” He
could not yet say whether LifestylesatHome will continue as an
insert only or will be mailed to the database in the
future.

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