How Shaklee Developed a Digital Catalog
When it launched a digital version of its catalog 18 months ago, natural nutritional goods cataloger/wholesaler Shaklee was pursuing cost savings and the chance to target a new customer segment. And last week during a Catalog Success webinar called “Digital Catalogs: Expand your audience while slashing your costs,” which was sponsored by digital publishing services provider Nxtbook Media, John Cortez, e-commerce manager at Shaklee, chronicled his company's experience with its digital book.
Seeking ways to cut marketing costs, Shaklee contemplated several ideas, including trimming print mailing lists, stopping production of seasonal catalogs and optimizing self-service products, which independent Shaklee distributors could print on their own.
While not abandoning its print catalog — Shaklee still mails select full product-set print catalogs — the company decided to make it available online, too. In partnership with Nxtbook Media, the digital version of Shaklee's catalog came online nearly 18 months ago. Working with Nxtbook offered several advantages to Shaklee, Cortez said, but chief among them was the fact that Shaklee was able work with the employees it already had in place and didn't have to add anyone.
The digital catalog is deployed in several different channels for Shaklee's customers, including e-mail or iTrack, an internal CRM tool for the company's independent distributors — and it's unique to those customers. By using iTrack, Shaklee's independent distributors can send out electronic postcards to customers that automatically link back to Shaklee's online product catalog, with a URL unique to that distributor. This allows distributors to be accurately credited for sales.
Other channels where the digital catalog is integrated include corporate communications — Cortez cited the appearance of Shaklee products on the "Oprah" and "Good Morning America" shows — and social media sites, most notably Facebook.
Recent data showed that Facebook is the third most popular URL coming to the Shaklee personal Web site, its online storefront for distributors. Distributors post their unique links of the digital catalog to their Facebook profiles which maintains a unique connection to the distributor, Cortez said.