Crutchfield Plugs into B-to-B Market

Consumer electronics cataloger Crutchfield is no longer just for consumers. In late 2003 the Charlottesville, VA-based company launched a corporate sales division to go after businesses and educational institutions, as well as to tap into the incentive/promotions sector.

Crutchfield’s corporate and educational sales division mailed its first catalog in October to both customers and prospects, says Adam Beroza, director of business development. Beroza won’t reveal the size of the mailing, but he says that Crutchfield scoured its 29 million-name database searching for orders that appeared to be for business rather than personal use. Business indicators included use of purchase orders and payment from accounts payable departments.

The b-to-b catalog, which has a different cover but the same body as Crutchfield’s main book, will mail seven times a year. The corporate unit has its own telephone and fax numbers, along with two customer service representatives who have been trained in pricing discounts for bulk purchases and tracking stock levels. “We felt that we really needed to focus on [the b-to-b customers’] needs and dedicate sales advisers to that market to be able to serve them better,” Beroza says. The Crutchfield Website features a link that takes b-to-b buyers to a nontransactional “sitelet.” The b-to-b Web page includes an online credit application and a description of the company’s products and services.

Beroza says the company is most excited about expanding into the incentive/promotions sector because of the potential for creating repeat business. Of the customers who received a Crutchfield gift certificate as an incentive or promotion, 55% had not previously known of Crutchfield. Beroza also points out that gift certificate shoppers tend to spend more than the amount given to them as a gift.

To promote its corporate division, the company is taking booths at incentive/promotion industry trade shows and placing advertisements in trade magazines. Crutchfield has also signed up with the U.S. government to become eligible to receive bids from the military for the purchase of products such as televisions and radio receivers.

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