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SkyMall Monday: An Interview with SkyMall CEO Christine Aguilera
Even after learning that Ms. Aguilera was not the multiplatinum recording sensation, I was still eager to get her thoughts on the inner workings of SkyMall, its most popular products and who in their right mind would buy medical supplies from an airplane catalog.
What is the best-selling product in SkyMall's history?
The Mosquito Magnet, an electronic device to attract and kill mosquitoes. It debuted in SkyMall and is our top seller to date. We've also sold a ton of nose hair trimmers.
What is currently the most popular product in terms of recent sales?
Top-selling products change from week to week. Some of the recent top sellers include: The Edge Baking Pan, the iPhone iPod battery, the upside-down tomato garden, and the spy pen.
There are approximately 2,000 products in our in-flight catalog and 15,000 products online.
Do vendors approach SkyMall to carry their products?
We receive approximately 100 inquiries per week regarding featuring product in the SkyMall catalog and on SkyMall.com. We also have a team of merchandisers that work directly manufacturers and attend trade shows to find new and interesting products.
Is there a giant SkyMall warehouse with all of the products or do you partner with your vendors to handle the shipment of orders?
SkyMall does not warehouse any inventory; all merchandise is shipped directly by the product supplier.
How many airlines carry SkyMall?
SkyMall is on 13 airlines and Amtrak. The title of the catalog on Amtrak is "TravelMall" but it features the same products as the SkyMall catalog.
Who vets potential products to make sure that they are suitable for SkyMall?
We have a team of merchandisers that review each product.
Could I be the official SkyMall product tester? How does one get such a job?
We don't really have one official product tester but you are more than welcome to buy a bunch products and post reviews on SkyMall.com. We would LOVE that!
Has SkyMall ever refused to carry a product?
SkyMall carries products that are innovative, unique, or solution oriented. If something doesn't fit that description, it won't be considered. We also make sure that products are appropriate for "family friendly" viewing.
Who writes the product descriptions for SkyMall?
Most descriptions come directly from the catalog partner. Some are written by SkyMall staff.
How often is the paper catalog updated?
The inflight catalog is updated four times each year. We are constantly adding new product to SkyMall.com
How many catalogs are printed annually?
About 20 million.
How has the popularity of internet shopping affected SkyMall's business?
The internet has been great for us. We've had a site since 1996. On SkyMall.com we can feature more products, include product reviews, and interact with customers in new ways.
What percentage of SkyMall sales come from the catalog vs. the website?
60% website, 40% catalog
What is the "Mobile Virtual Store" that SkyMall has launched?
SkyMall has a mobile shopping site. Customers can view product and make purchases directly from their mobile devices. They can also SMS an item number to 49432 to make a purchase.
Has Snuggie's direct marketing campaign affected SkyMall's sales of the Slanket?
The Slanket was very popular this past winter. We don't really have a way to gauge if its sales were impacted by competing products.
Is there such thing as a "typical" or "average" SkyMall customer?
They're typically earlier adopters of technology and business decision makers...they like to have things the neighbors don't have.
What is your favorite current SkyMall product?
The Wonder Woman bracelet! Really!
Do you purchase SkyMall items? What do you own from the catalog?
All the time...a door mat, bug vacuum, wine chiller, Jumpin Jammerz, giant cupcake pan.
SkyMall is known for carrying some, shall we say, odd products. What do you think the public's perception of SkyMall is?
For every wacky product that someone sees, they see another that they just have to have. What I think is cool, you might think is ridiculous and vice versa.
Even you must think that some of the products in SkyMall are a bit strange. Which products make you shake your head and wonder, "Who would buy that?"
I'm not a big fan of the Garden Yeti (but our VP of Marketing loves hers.)
What do you say to people who laugh at SkyMall or some of the products?
I'm glad we've made you smile! People should do more of that!
Should people be purchasing Shingles medication from SkyMall?
Only if they have Shingles.
Touché, Ms. Aguilera. Touché.
Special thanks to Joey O'Donnell of SkyMall for his assistance in coordinating this interview.
Check out all of the previous SkyMall Monday posts HERE.
Filed under: Gear