Six Strategies to Drive Multichannel Sales

A customer who purchases from two channels is worth three times as much as a single-channel customer. A customer who purchases from three channels (catalog, Internet, and stores) can yield five to six times the value of a single-channel buyer.

Initiating these strategies will encourage multichannel behavior while driving overall increased company sales:

1. Solicit catalog requests on the Website.
Website visitors can be some of the most valuable prospects a cataloger can find. These prospects have brand awareness and an interest in your product offering. They have further raised their hand in interest to the company by requesting a catalog. You can successfully mail recent Internet requests directly, though you may need to optimize older requesters through cooperative database modeling. 2. Ink-jet store events and the address of the closest store on the back of the catalog.
Leverage the catalog mailings to promote store events as well as the closest store. Eighty percent of consumers want to touch and feel the product before making a purchase. By promoting the stores on the catalog, consumers can find out what’s new and go to the store to purchase that item as well as other, incremental, impulse items.

3. Mail deeper into store trade areas.
Use your house file, as well as specific prospecting models, to increase circulation in the store trade area. By increasing the penetration of these mailings to targeted prospects, not only will the store sales increase, but catalog sales will also increase, by about 15%. It is difficult to measure the impact on store sales. By analyzing the comp store sales trends before and after the mailing, however, and comparing them to trends for “hold out” stores, you can conduct an ROI analysis.

4. Reactivate older buyers through e-mail.
By sending an e-mail to older buyers announcing a new catalog and inquiring if they would like to receive it, you can cost-effectively identify those older buyers most likely to reactivate. Only about 10% of older buyers will say that they would like to receive the catalog, but that is 10% you were not able to identify before. In addition, by e-mailing those names, you may also pick up some direct Internet sales.

5. Mail gift cards with a catalog and a store location list.
Too many times I simply see a gift card mailed to the recipient in a nice box. Take this opportunity to also mail a catalog as well as a listing of all of the local stores. This will promote faster sales and higher gift card redemption in all channels. Also be sure to follow up with subsequent catalog mailings to these gift card recipients.

6. Promote local store e-mails.
Many customers feel that a chain’s nearest store is their local store, not part of a large chain. You can foster that feeling by mailing e-mails from the local stores. REI does a great job of taking advantage of local events and sending a local-store-based e-mail every month. In order to effectively produce rich local e-mails, the content needs to be managed from the individual store with the e-mail deployment handled from corporate.

Michelle M. Farabaugh is a partner with San Rafael, CA-based marketing consultancy Lenser and writes a monthly column for LIST & DATA STRATEGIES.

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