AllNative boosts sales creatively

Sep 01, 2005 9:30 PM  By

When Winnebago, NE-based Native American products merchant AllNative revamped its catalog design earlier this year, it hoped to give customers a better sense of its roots and mission — which in turn was expected to boost sales, says CEO Erin Morgan. And though she notes that “we’re just starting to see the fruits of our labor now,” sales have increased at least 30% since the beginning of June.

The company, which is owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, had sales of $10 million last year from its print catalog, Website, and three stores. AllNative has two core groups of shoppers: Native Americans living on reservations who want authentic merchandise linked to their heritage, and affluent women, typically on the East and West Coasts, looking for unique products. “We’re trying to go after two very different audiences and not alienate either of them,” says Morgan.

New palette, more products

To better appeal to both groups of customers, AllNative started by opting for a more sophisticated color palette of earthy browns, golds, and rusts. “We’ve always used a lot of color, but it had been haphazard,” says Janice Jessen, agency manager for Blue Earth Marketing, a public relations firm also based in Winnebago that is a subsidiary of AllNative.

AllNative also repaginated the merchandise, reducing the product density of categories and increasing density of others. Whereas the catalog used to show 25-30 CDs on a page, for instance, it now displays them in groups of no more than 10. On the other hand, the catalog now shows more than one or two T-shirts on a page. “If the products are similar or can be easily explained, you can incorporate more shots on the page,” Morgan notes. This reorganization has enabled the company to add at least 100 products to the core catalog without increasing the page count.

Products range from $3 boxes of tea and beef jerky to $8,000 works of art. The average purchase order is $75-$80, while the average price point hovers at around $100. Product count in each issue varies, from as many as 650 in its core edition to 175 in some of the smaller supplements it mails.

The revamped book features biographies of artists, describing their work, technique, and personal history. Shoppers will also find profiles of Native companies and vignettes with Native quotes or legends, which “hopefully will draw the eye in, so the customer takes longer on the page,” says Jessen.

The Website, which has been redesigned to match the catalog’s new look, has also become more user friendly, with additional photography, a time frame for the availability of backordered products listed, and a wish list function.

The redesign hasn’t been the only thing on the company’s agenda this year. In July, AllNative moved from a 7,000-sq.-ft. headquarters, which housed its distribution center and one of its stores, to a 14,000-sq.-ft. facility, which also includes its warehouse. The move means a doubling of space in the store as well, which, Morgan says, will enable the company to redesign it in keeping with the new creative of the other channels.

“It’s the same natural look and feel that you have when looking at the catalog or Website,” Morgan says, “so there’s a consistency of image and brand no matter how you are shopping with us.