Marketing: How to Keep Up Sales Momentum During Off-Seasons
An ongoing challenge for most catalogers/multichannel merchants is keeping a respectable sales pace going during off-seasons. And Shelley Nandkeolyar, CEO of multititle apparel cataloger Norm Thompson Outfitters, outlined several ways to keep momentum going following the holiday season in a session he delivered at last week’s e-Tail conference held in Washington, D.C. Below are some useful pointers he had to offer.
* Keep the pressure on. Make liberal use of e-mail marketing for customer retention and reactivation, Nandkeolyar said. In his experiences at Norm Thompson and with the Solutions and Sahalie catalogs, Nandkeolyar has found that with e-mail, the more you use it, the better the results. “We’ve gone from one e-mail every two weeks to roughly three e-mails a week,” he shared. “We get a tremendous lift in business and very low opt-out.”
* Run many of the same promotions during off-seasons that you run at peak season. In both its catalogs and Web sites, Norm Thompson offer games, sweepstakes and e-mail promotions, Nandkeolyar said.
* Execute tried-and-true ideas. “New ideas are good, but old ones are better,” Nandkeolyar said. “Use things you’ve tried, tested and had success with” in the past. For instance, try reactivating existing customers during the summer season. Norm Thompson considers “dormant” customers those who haven’t placed orders for at least 18 months. “We don’t consider 12- to 18-month buyers customer reactivation,” Nandkeolyar noted. “We consider 18- to 36-month buyers reactivation.”
* Incentivize people to make a purchase by offering the incentive not on the first purchase, but with a 90-day time frame for a second purchase. Norm Thompson finds that the best incentive is a dollar amount off that second purchase. In addition, the cataloger promotes tiered offers of varying dollar amounts off three purchases, although the former incentive has worked best, he said.