Advances in Regulatory Economics series
Edited by Michael A. Crew and Paul R. Kleindorfer
Chapter 13: Mail Order Businesses Demand: A Conceptual Approach
13. Mail order business demand: a conceptual approach Xavier Ambrosini, Sebastien Breville, Joël Cornee and Olaf Klargaard 1 INTRODUCTION Over the last decades, global volumes of mail have been characterized by constant growth in industrialized countries, thanks notably to the permanent jump in the direct mail subsegment. The example of the French postal market is not an exception regarding this trend, as the number of direct mail items grew 230 percent between 1981 and 2006 (UFMD, 2007). The growth in demand for all advertising by ﬁrms, and the increased information ﬁrms have obtained about consumers have been the main drivers for this evolution (Shiman, 2001), allowing marketing media strategy to be more eﬃcient. This structural growth has recently been questioned as some postal operators (POs) start to face ﬂat evolution, and in some cases decreases in direct mail volumes. This phenomenon is a major source of concern since continuing developments of this type of mail up to now have been compensating the downward trend in single-piece items and transaction mail (bills, bank statements and so on). In this environment, POs have a strong interest in understanding the levers of direct mail demand in order to develop service and price innovations that will foster mail volume. Among all ﬁrms using marketing media, mail order businesses (MOBs) are of particular interest regarding their speciﬁc demand patterns – comparable to any ﬁrm measuring return on investment (ROI) – and considering their importance in the POs’ customer structure (Section 2). Considering characteristics of...
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