One-Stop E-commerce: GiftCatalog.com
“That’s where we’ve leveraged our cost,” says Bauer. “Different brands, different look and feel, different Web pages, but the same underlying structure drives it all.”
Mary Pat Ladner, senior manager of the creative department for target.direct, recounts other efficiencies of scale. For instance, most of the product photography is shot digitally, and all images are in centralized repositories accessible by the various creative personnel. “We hire outside photographers, but we have an in-house creative team,” she says. “Our print creative team works in conjunction with the Web navigation team, so we just shoot and write things once.”
Although all of these operations were running on the same e-commerce platform, unfortunately they were not integrated
for the consumer. Officials of target.direct predicted that a seamless integration of these URLs would lead to greater crossover sales. And the idea of GiftCatalog.com was born.
All Brands in One Cart
“We conducted online research about our guests and their purchase patterns,” Ladner says. “One of our findings was the common merchandising attributes across the three different brands of Seasons, Signals and Wireless.” Among those attributes, she notes, are price ranges, product quality and gift uniqueness.
From a merchandising standpoint, Bauer explains, “What we’re after as a direct marketer is the ‘unique gift’ or the one that you can’t find necessarily from other retailers or catalogs and would be the product that, when you see it, you’d say, ‘Oh, that would be perfect for Aunt Sally!’
“In time, both Wireless and Signals really have lessened almost to nothing their dependency on public television and radio products,” continues Bauer, “but have evolved into their own stand-alone brands, mostly in the gift niche.”
In addition, research found that visitors—or what the company refers to as “guests”—to the Web sites were attracted by breadth of selection. Ladner says, “We initially thought we’d keep all brands separate; however, the more we got into it, the more we considered offering our guests a wider range of gift selections with an easy-to-shop site, with one checkout instead of three. We talked to our guests [and presented] some prototypes, and they thought it was a great idea.”