L.L. Bean Raises the Bar With Its New Matchback Program
Up until just recently, all those customers who spent hours browsing around and shopping in L.L. Bean’s flagship, tourist-attraction store in the town of Freeport, Maine, also where the company’s headquarters are located, left with shopping bags full, but never had any further communications from Bean again. But better late than never: As L.L. Bean’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing Steve Fuller described during a session he gave at the recent NEMOA conference in Portland, Maine, Bean has implemented an extensive matchback program that gets every form of transaction matched back to Bean’s master customer file.
“For 93 years,” he said, “if customers came into our stores, they didn’t count as buyers in our direct marketing world. They’d shop, have a great experience, go back to Ohio, and we’d never see them again.”
For a cataloger that sets the bar in so many ways, Bean can set it in yet another manner. The company works with its matchbacks as follows.
* Customer trade area reporting tracks customer spending and profitability across all channels — phone/mail, Web or store;
* Takes transactions across all channels and treats all channel customers as individual customers and single households; and
* Measures changes among customer trade areas.
Although L.L. Bean will continue its deliberate approach to retail expansion, Fuller said the company will “significantly increase” retail’s presence on its Web site over the next few months. For instance, the company will begin aggressively collecting e-mail addresses from customers in its stores. What’s more, Bean will soon test allowing customers located in store regions to order online and then pick up their orders in local stores.
“Our push has forced us to become better multichannel marketers,” Fuller said. “We want to be accessible to more people. It’s all about integration. When you have things sitting in silos, it never works. So we’ve purposely forced integration as an integral part of our overall direct marketing.”