How Fair Indigo Created a Customer Base
Fair Indigo, whose primary reason for being is that it sources exclusively from fair trade factories, sells nice-looking, comfortable, casual clothing primarily for upper-middle-class women. But so do a lot of other catalogers. So how is the Middleton, Wis.-based cataloger able to find prospects who’ll buy their next pair of jeans from Fair Indigo rather than more established merchants, such as J. Jill or Coldwater Creek?
The mission’s the thing, of course. “Part of the process of finding who our customers were was to determine where she’d likely shop,” says Fair Indigo Director of Marketing Terry Nelson. So the cataloger developed a list of prospecting lists. Those included J. Jill, Williams-Sonoma and others. “We felt our customers would likely shop at these catalogs, so they were the lists we rented,” he says.
The company also created custom lists with co-op database Abacus. “It allows you to bring in a few more qualitative aspects of our customer, as opposed to strict list rental,” Nelson says. He plans to expand to other co-op databases later this year, including NextAction and Prefer Network.
Fair Indigo also sends e-mails to its own customers who have opted in. “We feature different products, but we also send informational e-mails about the fair trade factories we work with,” says President/CEO Bill Bass. “We inform on what’s happening in the factories, share interesting stories there, and we know our customers are interested.”
Many Fair Indigo customers, Nelson and Bass discovered, are involved with causes and charities. So as a means of building its cause, customer loyalty and relationships, Fair Indigo offered them the chance to support one of 10 charities in making a purchase. Customers nominated 10 charities then got to choose one for a particular promotion in which Fair Indigo donated 25 percent of its sales on specific days. “Customers thought it was great,” Nelson said. The promotion not only was carried out online, but also in the company’s Madison, Wis., store.