Drew Munster had meager financing when he started Tennis Warehouse, a direct-mail business in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He could afford only a black-and-white, two-page catalog and almost no photos. How did he compensate? He created a Web site and put his mailer online. And he kept printing and postage costs to a minimum while expanding his catalog.
The old two-page catalog, which cost $1,200 to print and mail every two months, went to a home-grown list of 3,000 names, and it listed only half of Tennis Warehouse's line.
The Web version, a 30-page electronic catalog listing all 200 of his products, took Munster just two weeks to produce. About 50 items are linked to color photographs and text that details product features. It's a simple matter for Munster to update his inventory, ad copy, and prices at a moment's notice.
In his first six months online, Munster saved $1,000 in printing and postage. Local Internet service was costing Munster $30 a month, and he reports that his largest expense has been the $60 a week he pays to the clerk who responds to e-mail requests for additional product information.
He credits the site with at least 25% of his company's growth. "We have all the business we can handle," Munster says.