4 Tips for Cross-Promoting E-Commerce Sites and Catalogs
Many retailers are adept at simultaneously handling sales through their catalogs and e-commerce sites. Cross-promoting catalogs and Web sites, however, can be more challenging. In addition to prominently placing Web addresses in their catalogs, retailers can engage in several methods to create a successful multichannel marketing program that continuously attracts and retains customers through their preferred methods of shopping.
The following are four tips to help ensure successful promotions between catalogs and e-commerce sites.
1. Plan ahead. Catalogers know well in advance which promotions they’ll place in their print books. By coupling those with an online component, they’ll give customers another reason to visit the Web site in addition to the catalog.
2. Make promotion sites easy to remember. An 18-digit coupon code in print will be difficult for many and impossible for some to correctly type for a Web site offer. Instead, try an easy promotion code, such as “SUMMER15” for 15 percent off summer items, which is easier to remember than a complex string of letters and numbers.
3. Offer incentives. If the cost of catalogs is shrinking your printed resources, reference your site when placing extended inventory online. Also, consider methods such as loyalty programs and word-of-mouth programs to drive customer loyalty. Double-use coupons, such as save now and save later or save for you and a friend, are ways to extend the customer relationship.
4. Be flexible. Be able to update your site in short order. An increasing number of Web site builders and e-commerce platforms require little to no ability to perform Web coding. Simply cutting and pasting text, adding pricing, or clicking on photos is as complicated as it gets. But having the resources to shift offers and promotions quickly to respond to customer demands can better align the relationship between print and online.
Running out of inventory of a catalog item, for example, can present an opportunity for your site. Customers who search the site or enter the catalog number for the item can be directed to items that are similar in color or made by the same manufacturer in a similar price range.
With preplanning and flexibility, cross-promotions between catalogs and Web sites can become second nature. A comprehensive back-end technology solution will allow retailers to simultaneously manage catalog and e-commerce functions, real-time inventory, and give them the ability to offer multiple storefronts. Customers are adept at shopping through multiple channels, and increased incentives for them to return repeatedly or tell a friend can create loyal customers that share the brand beyond the sale.
Gary Harrison is the president/founder of Interprise Software Solutions (www.interprisesuite.com), a provider of platform-driven e-business applications. Harrison led the development of Interprise Suite and the Connected Business platforms.