Technology helps catalogers deliver precise online marketing
Marketing online is cataloging in reverse. Instead of mailing to your housefile, you use it to lure prospects to your Web site.
Using high-speed automated databases, Web sites can make judgment calls about what products to offer to which consumer and can treat valued customers differently than prospects.
That’s because you have a mix of customers who know you and customers who don’t, so changing your Web site to suit each customer is just as important as versioning your catalog or knowing which products will appeal most to a certain consumer.
Tailoring the online offer to the shopper increases the chances of purchase. Nothing is more welcoming to online shoppers than having a Web site greet them by name and then show them the best and newest product in their favorite colors. Customers are often willing to supply retailers with information if it will result in a better shopping experience. But if you waste or misuse the information, customers grow reluctant to register.
By mining and modeling their databases, catalogers find they can attract online customers using targeted offers. Off-line, catalogers model to build profiles of similar customers. Online, they use the same data to assemble merchandise profiles.
Offering the right products, combined with the right incentives and discounts, can convert lookers into buyers or entice a former shopper to return.
Reelin’ Em In
Williams-Sonoma has been working with e-commerce marketing company Net Perceptions to create targeted, personalized e-mail offers for its online store.
In October, Williams-Sonoma will re-launch its site using e-commerce and Personalization Network products from Net Perceptions. For the multi-channel, specialty supplier of cooking utensils, reaching customers in an appropriate way with the right offer was a challenging goal to meet.
Shelley Nandkeolyar, Williams-Sonoma’s vice president of e-commerce, says the company felt it was important to know what customers were looking for and offer it in a precise and real-time manner. When considering its options for personalization, Nandkeolyar says Williams-Sonoma had to factor in its own retail channels and those of its other retail companies: Chambers, Gardener’s Eden, Hold Everything and Pottery Barn, which launched its first site in August.