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Mail Order Buyers Who Are They? Where Do They Live? What Do They Buy?
shopping by mail, they continue to buy
in this way.
T is a generally conceded fact that
farmers are the largest mail order buyers. According to recent statis
tics, there are 7,416,900 farm families in the United States, comprising over 36,000,000 individuals.
In addition to these farm families, there are 1,240,000 other rural families in the United States comprising about 5,332,800 individuals. A total of 41,532,800 persons.
While these do not, by any means, comprise all of the families and individuals who buy goods by mail, they doubtless buy more, per capita, in this way, than any other class of our citizens.
Next to the farm, and other rural population, the residents of country towns are considered the most desirable mail order customers. Of these there are 9,409,500 persons. This number live in cities and towns whose population is less than 25,000 each.
Add this 9,409,500 to the 41,532,800 of rural population, and the total of 50,942,300 comprises just about 60 per cent of the total population of the United States at the present time, which is placed at 84,374,600.
Even the rural population, and the dwellers in small towns and cities do not comprise all the mail order buyers in the United States, as the records of the catalogue mail order houses, and other mail order advertisers will show, but in selecting mediums in which to advertise, this large class of advertisers choose first, farm papers, and mail order journals circulating in rural communities, and second, papers circulating in the smaller towns. In fact, the two classes of publications named circulate quite largely in the smaller cities and towns, as many retired farmers reside here, and continue to take farm papers, and having learned the advantage of
The mail order papers find it easy to obtain subscribers in the smaller cities and towns, as their subscription lists show, and thus the citizens of these places are educated in “Fireside Shopping,” as the Englishman designates this system of buying goods.
Now, let us see what a total of 10,578,800 families, or 50,942,300 individuals,
to mail order advertisers, who look upon this immense army as their legitimate clientele.
The two great catalogue mail order houses of Chicago, Montgomery Ward & Co. and Sears, Roebuck & Co., sold a total of about $80,000,000 worth of merchandise during 1906, or a combined average of, say, $7.50 to each of these 10,578,800 families.
According to recent statistics by Prof. Geo. B. Waldron, “The yearly food supplies for the American is five billion dollars,” and “Other family expenditures (not including taxes or benevolences) are as much more," making a total of ten billion dollars; about $119.00 per capita, or approximately $500.00 per family.
Now, suppose we cut this in two, owing to the fact that the farmer produces a part of what he eats, and say that each one of the 10,578,800 familieslet us call them mail order families-have $250 that they could spend to advantage in buying goods by mail. This gives us the snug total of $2,644,700,000.
We often hear it said that the great catalogue mail order houses come
to monopolizing the mail order trade that there is no chance for others to succeed in this line; that a mail order buyer can turn to the great catalogues issued by these houses and fund practically anything and everything he needs,
"Kalamazoo Direct to You” business about five years ago. The result is well known. The growth of the business, and the immense modern plant that became a necessity to take care of it, is as fine an object lesson of a mail order success as can be found in the world.
Kalamazoo stoves and ranges are sold mainly to farmers, and the mediums that produce sales at lowest cost are
and at prices that cannot be met, and leave a decent profit to other would-be mail order advertisers.
Some people who have visited Sears, Roebuck & Co.'s establishment, or that of Montgomery Ward & Co., imagine that they are supplying the American farmer with about everything that he eats, drinks, wears, or
If these two mammoth establishments sold thirty times as much as they do, they would not sell $250 worth of goods to each of the "mail order families."
There are hundreds of concerns that could be reaping as big a harvest as Wm. Thompson, of the Kalamazoo Stove Co., who, knowing all about the fact that the catalogue mail order houses were selling stoves at very low prices, decided, about five years ago, to go into the business of making first-class stoves and ranges and sell them direct to the consumer at prices much higher than the catalogue houses were charging.
He decided to make only one grade of goods—the best-and sell them at a fair advance on the manufacturers' cost, thus cutting out the middleman's profit. On account of high quality, the prices were considerably above those of the catalogue houses.
Mr. Thompson was advised, at the outset, by many friends not to make the attempt, that it would surely result in failure; but he was, first, a practical stove maker; second, a good judge of human nature; and third, a good business man, and so he said: “If people will buy a cheap or fairly good article by mail, why not a genuinely good article?”
The cost of delivering such heavy goods as stoves and ranges was urged as an objection. Mr. Thompson said: “Freight charges is a matter that adjusts itself. The consumer has to pay for the delivery of goods, no matter from whom he buys. I will add freight charges to the selling price, and then undersell the retail dealer and all comers, quality considered.”'
As stated above, he went into the
Less than one year ago the Duplex Phonograph Co., of Kalamazoo, Mich., decided that they would market an improved phonograph on the mail order plan. They believed that, by eliminating dealers' profits, and giving the people who want phonographs a superior instrument at a low price, they could establish their business at much less expense than by the ordinary means of employing salesmen to sell to the trade.
The fact is, that after paying for dies and machinery to make their goods, they did not have sufficient capital to pay the salary and expenses of one good salesman for a year. They decided to put all the money they had, less than $3,000, into advertising
They were strongly advised against this course, even by some experienced advertising men, but they sought the assistance of what they considered the best agency they could find, made the venture, advertised The Duplex Phonograph at $29.50 cash, and so immediate and generous were the returns that a large success was assured in ten days after the first advertising appeared.
Today they have an extensive plant, valued at $100,000, paid for out of the profits of the business, are selling goods faster than they can produce them, and this grand success has come in practically ten months from the establishment
of the business, on strictly mail order lines.
Here is an instance where the advertiser had to compete with concerns that cover the field with agents, and sell through dealers in every city and almost every town, wl advertise extensively, and sell goods on installments.
They had also to compete with the catalogue mail order houses, who sell phonographs at from $2.00 up, and yet success came to them so quickly along mail order lines as to not only delight them, but amaze both them and their competitors as well.
Like the Kalamazoo Stove Co., they had a good article and advertised it vigorously direct to the consumer, and have won out in ten months.
resulted from this advertising, which will reduce the cost per sale very materially.
These sales were made largely to farmers, and the returns are so satisfactory that this advertiser has largely increased his appropriation and list of ms.
In this case, as in the others named, the advertiser has to compete with the catalogue mail order houses, who list organs at much lower prices than this advertiser sells for.
And so we could name instance after instance where advertisers, who have the business foresight to adopt advertising as the cheapest and best method of selling goods used in farm homes, are making it pay big. The only thing is to start right. Tie up to an agency that can write copy that will produce results, and select mediums that are sure win
Still Another Mail Order Success
A manufacturer of one of the leading cabinet organs decided to use mail order methods about fourteen months ago, to see what it would accomplish in selling a $57.00 organ. They spent $3,989.98 in six mail order papers, eight agricultural papers, two women's publications and two religious publications, and their sales from this advertising, up to October 27, 1906, amounted to $60,306.00. The average cost per inquiry was 60c and the average cost per sale was $3.77.
Since that date many other sales have
The 10,578,800 mail order families of the United States have been educated to buy goods by mail, and they use nearly everything in the way of luxuries and necessities that can be named. It would not pay to attempt to market everything in this way, but there are
scores of things that can be sold by the mail order method at a fraction of the cost of marketing by the expensive methodboth to the seller and buyer-of selling through the trade.
Mr. A. W. Palmer Joins the Copy Staff of the Long-Critchfield Corporation HE latest acquisition to the copy this case, the price of the article was staff of the Long-Critchfield Cor $57.00, and the average cost per sale poration is Mr. A. W. Palmer, was $3.77.
who, in the past twelve years, In resigning his former position to has earned a most enviable record for join the copy staff of the Long-Critchplanning advertising campaigns and field Corporation he did so, not alone writing successful copy for many of the to better his position financially, but to largest and best known advertisers. become affiliated with an agency where Mr. Palmer pos
"complete service" sesses the rare
ideas prevail in combination of
every department. ability, which en
Each of the ten ables him to grasp
members of the quickly the strong
copy staff of this advertising fea
agency was chosen tures in a proposi
and is retained on tion, formulate
his ability to prosuccessful sales
duce results. plans, write real,
Whether in a mail result - producing
order campaign, or salesmanship into
so-called "pubfew words, and
licity campaign," also "dress" his
the prime object in campaigns in the
view is a marked most artistic, at
increase in sales tractive, and yet
commensurate practical manner.
with the outlay for That his copy
advertising. "stands out" is
The fact that evidenced by a few
this agency has an examples of some
established record of his recent work,
of holding a larger reproduced in re
percentage of its duced form on the
clients—year after following two
year pages; that it brings results is proved other agency, is due to the thorough orby the fact that Mr. Palmer has had no ganization, with every member of its advertising failure charged against him directory and staff a seasoned and exin the past five years.
perienced advertising man, who underOf the copy reproduced, one general stands salesmanship in all its phases. advertising campaign increased sales 500 That the Long-Critchfield Corporation per cent in the first year. In another handles more accounts, where direct recampaign-purely mail order business sults can be traced, than any other his copy sold over $60,000 worth of agency in the world, is the best comgoods the first year, on a total advertis mentary on the ability of its copy staff, ing expenditure of less than $4,000. In and every department of its business.