Harmonize Your Sales Strategies
By Noelle Buoncristiano
Four tactics for multichannel success.
Today's multichannel merchants continually are searching for viable channel-integration solutions — a seamless blend across the key points of customer interaction, including catalogs, Web sites, retail stores and kiosks.
"Providing seamless integration communicates a consistent message to consumers and results in higher transaction values," note the authors of the LakeWest Group's Fifth Annual POS Benchmarking Survey 2004.
But as most catalogers will tell you, achieving that seamless blend across all sales channels is more difficult than it appears to be. Following are a few tactics that can help you make the most of all of your channel-integration intiatives.
1. Take advantage of low-cost marketing.
While e-mail marketing can be a strong tool used to integrate marketing efforts, it needs to enhance your organization's overall sales goals in order to be effective, says Sandra Matika, senior vice president at Mokrynski & Associates, a list brokerage and management firm based in Hackensack, NJ.
"Create every opportunity to collect e-mail addresses," she says. "Use vehicles such as order forms, call center representatives, Web site registration and retail store associates."
That's just the tactic used at HoneyBaked Ham Co., a multichannel food merchant based in Atlanta. Tim Kiss, manager of enterprise direct marketing, says reps use every point of contact to ask customers for e-mail addresses. The company then integrates its e-mail campaigns with catalog drops and retail sales — specifically to promote holiday reminders and last-minute discounts, showcase new products, and utilize cross-sell opportunities.
The merchant sends about 18 e-mail campaigns to a database of 100,000 catalog customers per year. "Timing varies," says Kiss. "We may have a concentration of two to three drops up to once a week around key holidays."
Such a strategy has so far been successful for HoneyBaked Ham: E-mail campaign revenue has been 15 percent above plan, and growth was 98 percent over prior year sales. However, aggressive database growth led to an increase in broadcast fees that put expenses slightly over budget, says Kiss.