Cover Story: Getting Organized
An ideal multichannel experience should meet a core customer need, and The Container Store is executing a strategy that does exactly that — one where customers complete half of their transactions online and the other half in person, according to Kevin Hillstrom, president of MineThatData, a database marketing consultancy.
"My projects continually indicate that any customer who has an experience with a live human being has greater long-term value than customers who do not have experiences with live human beings," Hillstrom says. "Retailers that can meet a core customer need and introduce wanted human assistance have a good chance to experience sales increases."
Another way The Container Store courts multichannel customers is by collecting the postal and email addresses of customers when they shop in stores.
For example, at the point-of-sale, employees collect customer address information, which is either added to the company's database or appended to individual customer files. The Container Store doesn't collect email addresses at checkout yet, Davis says, but will do so shortly.
The Container Store does collect email addresses from its custom design center, where customers work with designers to create their planned spaces with The Container Store's elfa line, the storage system that's been the company's best-selling product since its debut in 1978. The email addresses are necessary, according to Davis, so designers and customers can regularly communicate with each other regarding custom designs.
Customers can also register on the company's website by entering their email addresses, and, Davis says, "we've created several promotions to encourage email sign up, so we're able to have continual growth of our email database."
The Container Store is also integrating ratings and review content on its website into other channels.
"We added product ratings and reviews in January 2010, and we're really excited about the results we've seen," Davis says. "Currently, 25 percent of the products on our website have ratings and reviews, and now we're looking at ways to integrate them into other campaign materials."