barcode printer in vb.net How Some Catalogers Are Using the Web in Software

Creating Code 3 of 9 in Software How Some Catalogers Are Using the Web

How Some Catalogers Are Using the Web
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Once the landsend.com Web site was constructed, the company wanted to try additional methods besides the paper catalog that would induce shoppers to come to its site and buy. It introduced several new ideas that seemed to work. Live customer service that allowed customers to send messages and receive replies in real time (see Figure 12-1). The customer support agents could synchronize their screens with customers so that
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they could see the same screen the customer was seeing at home. They could help shoppers with their choices and in selecting cross sales. A virtual model that customers could use to try on clothes (see Figure 12-2). My Personal Shopper, who helps you the way a good clerk in a department store would (see Figure 12-3). How well did these things work Conversion rates among those who used the virtual model were 26 percent higher than among those Figure 12-1 Lands End Live. Lands End, Inc. Used with permission.
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Figure 12-2
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My Virtual Model. Lands End, Inc. Used with permission.
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T h e C u s t o m e r L o ya lt y S o l u t i o n
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Figure 12-3 My Personal Shopper. Lands End, Inc. Used with permission.
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who didn t. Conversion rates among those who used the personal shopper were 80 percent higher than the average for other customers. Other catalogers have also developed innovative methods to bring customers to their site. Use of af liates. Ashford.com, a jeweler, promotes its site through 12,000 af liates who are linked to Ashford in return for a 7 percent share of the net revenue. This program brings in 15 percent of Ashford s sales. Ashford also uses Web advertising and Web newsletters to previous customers. Web newsletters from catalogers may seem like a bonanza because they are so inexpensive to send. However, they are also annoying. Forrester Research found that more than half of consumers say they receive too many commercial emails. Most long-term Net users delete all promotional emails without reading them. However, the value of a Web newsletter can be easily determined by creating a control group and determining whether the total sales, number of sales, average order size, departments shopped, and so on are greater for those getting the newsletter than they are for the control group. If there is no difference, drop the newsletter like a hot potato.
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Problems for Catalogers Shifting to the Web
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Many catalogers have ful llment systems that use a legacy system that is not compatible with the modern servers that are used today for the
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Web and for customer service. A considerable amount of software rewriting is necessary. Only the larger catalogers can afford such an effort. One company that succeeded in this effort was the Sharper Image (www.sharperimage.com). The company put all its customers on a single database so that it could determine their purchases through each of the three channels: retail stores (60 percent), catalog phone orders (23 percent), and Web orders (17 percent). The top customers were identi ed by lifetime value and recency of purchase. Gold customers got special offers, preferred mailings, and gifts during the holidays. They also got sneak-preview emails on new items. The Sharper Image s email list grew to over 500,000. It sent out between two and four emails per customer per month. It also sent out emails to new prospects, letting them know that a new catalog was coming out and offering a merchandise certi cate. The emails did not reduce the number of paper catalogs sent out; they increased it. The number of catalogs sent out by the Sharper Image grew by 20 percent every year, with 62 million being sent out by 2000. Both catalogs and special mailers worked for this company.
The Web Creates Multibuyers
A survey by the National Retail Federation showed that catalog customers who buy on the Web buy 20 percent more than customers who respond to a catalog only by mail or phone. Web shoppers also spend 33 percent more in retail stores than retail shoppers who do not use the Web. A survey of 48,000 shoppers in all channels by Shop.org found that shoppers who bought via all three channels retail store, catalog, and the Web represented 34 percent of all Web shoppers. In-store shoppers who also bought from the same retailer online spent an average of $600 more per year than typical in-store shoppers. Macys.com saw its Web site as a stand-alone store carrying items that were not available in its catalog. Customers visiting the Web site registered their age, gender, family status, and the product lines of greatest interest to them. Macy s learned whether the customer planned to buy a home, take a vacation, have a baby, or get married anytime soon.
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