Personalized, Targeted E-mail Catalogs - (1,209 words)
Dream or Reality?
By Jack Schmid
Imagine a perfect world of marketing where a cataloger could deliver an electronic catalog to prospects within hours of the receipt of catalog requests. Or an electronic catalog that could be added to the circulation mix several times a year for customers, one that could be personalized and targeted to what the customer had previously purchased.
While this may sound like a futuristic pipe dream, a number of breakthrough electronic techniques are within reach of catalogers today.
There is not a cataloger out there that is not concerned about new-customer acquisition costs and finding ways to add additional promotions for existing customers. Perhaps this article will give you some "food for thought" on ways to actively bring the Internet into your circulation planning in the coming year.
Some of the major players in e-mail cataloging and marketing are Yesmail, LifeMinders, MyPoints, Net Creations, Digital Impact, ClickAction, Responsys and E.piphany.
Shop2U.com is another company that helps catalogers deliver an electronic catalog to prospects and customers via e-mail. With its services, an electronic catalog can be personalized for the customer to present targeted product offers based on past customer purchase activity.
If you have a minimum of 30,000 opt-in e-mail customer addresses and can pay a $5,000 set-up fee, Shop2U.com will use your customer list and detailed product transaction history to build a statistical model of the products that each customer will likely be attracted to and ultimately buy. It then tailors an electronic offering of products most likely to be associated with past purchase activity—in effect, a targeted product offering to customers. Furthermore, every e-mail catalog communication can be personalized to customers by name. Rather than sending every product in every product category to every customer hoping to find something that may catch their eye, the e-mailed mini-catalog contains 12 to 20 of the items (or up to several hundred items, if you desire) most related to the customer's last or most recent purchase. By the way, Shop2U.com also takes a percent of net sales on the back end.