Putting aside for a moment the criticisms about its overall business model, Amazon.com offers numerous lessons for Web retailers—namely, the inherent beauty of Internet partnerships. Indeed, Amazon set the standard for this mainstay in the e-commerce world, and numerous catalogers have adopted these principles to great success. In fact, 10 percent of all Internet sales and 3 to 5 percent of all online catalog Web sales come through affiliate sites—and these numbers are rising rapidly, noted two consultants at the recent Direct Marketing Association Annual conference in Chicago. In their seminar entitled “Internet Partnerships: Understanding the Key to Catalog Growth,” John Deneen, president of
Type the word “Gift” into any Internet search engine, and you’ll be faced with more sites than you know what to do with. From Gift.com to SendAGift.com, online gift retailing has become a hot-button business. With such a crowded field, why would the executives of retail giant Target Corp. decide that three of its strongest print catalog brands—Wireless, Signals and Seasons—would do better under one URL, GiftCatalog.com? The answer lies in the shopping experience. Market researchers told Target’s online division, target.direct, that potential for cross-selling among the three catalogs was high, but that navigating three different sites was not as easy it should be.
All of my favorite catalogs (both business and consumer) regularly e-mail to me promotions or newsletters. It appears that today’s catalogers are taking e-mail communication seriously and devoting significant marketing efforts to regularly contacting customers and prospects. Indeed, a cataloger’s e-mail file is a valuable asset in building site traffic and sales. Following are nine tips to aggressively grow your e-mail list. Prominently feature on your Web site’s home page an invitation to sign up for e-mailed communications. Most catalogs offer a subscription for e-mail specials or newsletters; but they can be amazingly hard to find. Sometimes I have to scroll down below
Want to improve your online customers’ shopping experience? In its new report, “10 Retail Site Fixes That Won’t Break the Bank,” Forrester Research offers these tips culled from a recent study of 100 retail Web sites. 1. Don’t let customers get away. Customers who mistakenly type in “wwwhomedepot.com” are still directed to Home Depot’s site. But those typing “wwwjcpenney.com” end up at a casino site. “Register and use common domain name misspellings of your site,” says James Crawford, a Forrester analyst. 2. Make it easy for customers to look around. Don’t force them to complete a long online registration form just so they can
Customers will expect to see perfect color online by the year 2002, according to analysts at Forrester Research. Catalogers who are finally feeling comfortable with computer-to-plate and digital proofs now are facing the daunting task of achieving color perfection on their Web pages. Today’s online shoppers are demanding more from their online shopping experience, including color accuracy. A study from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Media Metrix shows that 83 percent of online shoppers distrust the colors on their monitors. Yet 80 percent of respondents said accurate color was “very important” when buying clothing, cosmetics, home furnishings and art online. More importantly, 50 percent of
My old professor, Frank Knight, used to say, that what people wanted was not the satisfaction of their wants, but better wants. —Herbert Stein, Presidential advisor and economist, The Wall Street Journal When I was a small boy growing up on Long Island, the big annual December outing was an overnight trip to Manhattan to visit my grandmother for the movie and Christmas pageant at the Radio City Music Hall and the annual visit to F.A.O. Schwarz, the great toy emporium on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street to see the newest in 0-gauge Lionel electric trains. When I became a man, I put away
After faltering at the starting block, online procurement might have found the magic combination to finally make businesses sit up and notice: indirect buying. And PC giant Dell Computer is leading the pack. Businesses have resisted online buying services until indirect e-procurement arrived on the scene mostly because open buying was slow and perceived as less-than-secure. E--procurement is the purchasing of support goods and services through an online, private customized catalog. The catalog contains products a company is interested in, and has approved for employee purchase, as well as a company’s negotiated pricing. According to AMR Research, the worldwide market
Attempting to market across multiple channels, catalogers have been using myriad marketing methods to drive sales to particular channels and across channels. While the promotions can be effective, they are hard to track. Netcentives, a loyalty and e-mail marketing solutions company, is offering catalogers a new way of following customers’ buying habits, creating more effective marketing campaigns and encouraging multi-channel shopping with its program Retail Rewards. Customers join Retail Rewards by registering their credit card with their favorite catalogers to receive rewards for their purchases in any channel. Catalogers who join the program create a customer credit card registration page on their sites.
In the early 1990s I gave a talk to the Minneapolis Direct Marketing Club. On the way to the airport, my old and dear friend Kathy detoured to let me prowl the vaunted Mall of America, that gloriously glitzy testament to the shop-’til-you-drop mentality: the largest indoor mall in the world, complete with an amusement park in the center. As we passed the jewelry department of Nordstrom, I spied a ring in the window that seemed right for my wife, Peggy. We went inside and were greeted by a sales clerk named Janice, who sold me the ring. Later that day I presented