Profile on Plow & Hearth--Reaping What You Sow (2,623 words)
Since the launch, the company is tracking purchase history separately for both Plow & Hearth and American Home—something that could make a more complete spin-off possible.
In addition to the spin-off, the company is creating versions of its Plow & Hearth catalog to better target customers. Previously, Plow & Hearth: Products for Country Living was producing four catalogs per year: spring, summer, fall and holiday. The company would re-mail each catalog several times for a total of 14 mailings throughout the year, or roughly once a month.
"We always change the cover," explains Hay. "[Now] we're starting to, more frequently, version catalogs within the season by adding more pages with new merchandise as it becomes more seasonally appropriate and removing merchandise as it becomes less seasonally appropriate."
The company has found that versioning is a very effective way of boosting response, and is likely to turn to current printer Quad/Graphics to do more.
"We hope to eventually get away from the one-size-fits-all catalog approach and actually start producing [more] personalized versions, so that we can contact prospects and customers with better product affinities," says Hay, noting that excellent results from some limited tests in 1999 means a likely roll out this year.
Upselling on the Phone
Improved data modeling is having a positive impact on other aspects of Plow & Hearth's business—the call center in particular.
Plow & Hearth has a long-standing upsell program called phone specials. Hay explains, "These historically were one-size-fits-all offers, usually low-price, impulse items that we offer at the end of a transaction after a customer has already made his or her choices. We have had this program in place a couple of years now and it was fairly successful. I wouldn't say we had astronomical penetration, but it was definitely generating good incremental income for us."