Thursday, March 8, 2007

Build online sales... offline

More and more companies are finding that one way to grow online sales is go back... offline. Should you? It's worth taking a look.

The buzz word these days is "multi-channel" retailing, which is the idea that to maximize sales, you need to put your products in front of potential customers using different channels.

The talented writers at Internet Retailers have written several great articles on this. I do encourage you to get a subscription to the magazine (it's free). There's definitely a lot to learn from reading what other businesses are doing.

What does multi-channel retailing mean to you? If you have a retail shop, you're already a multi-channel retailer: is that a fancy title or what?

One way to become a multi-channel retailer is to try out printed catalogs. Wait... weren't printed catalogs dead? Apparently not. In fact, there have been several case studies written about the fact that printed catalogs can help drive Web sales. For example, here are a couple of Internet Retailer articles on using print catalogs to do just that:
Printing out a catalog does not cost a fortune: tons of companies compete like crazy on this kind of service. Try it out and see what happens. For example:
  • Pick a few hundred customers that have already placed an order on your store
  • Send them a catalog
  • Track the conversion
How can you track the conversion?
  • Use your ecommerce software to create an electronic coupon that can be redeemed on your online store (e.g. one time coupon for 10% off).
  • Include the coupon only in the printed catalog
  • Make sure that you can get a sales report based on the coupon. Good shopping cart software like our ProductCart (and many of our competitors' as well) can do that.

Let us know how it went!

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