Direct-to-Customer Commerce


Strategic insights into the direct commerce industry, including ecommerce, direct marketing and related fields

The eighth step to multichannel commerce

Step 8 is marketing & promotion.

What a can of worms that is … or at least can be!  And obviously, in a single post, I’m not going to cover this topic.  This is a topic of unending variables.

I really only want to make a few points.  First recognize the difference between the channel or medium and the activity.  You can advertise by mail, market by mail and promote by mail.  Mail is a medium of communications.  Advertising, marketing and promoting are the activities.

Multichannel commerce, it seems clear, by definition refers to conducting commerce (which means generating sales) thru multiple channels.  So, I’m not taking about advertising, which is just sending a message.  I’m thinking about making an offer to a customer or prospective customer to conclude a transaction with me.

We have more channels than ever, for commerce:

  • brick and mortar stores (fact-to-face)
  • paper mail (flyers, postcards, letter packages, catalogs)
  • electronic mail
  • social media
  • web store
  • smart phone app
  • tablet app
  • telephone
  • direct response broadcast (radio, television)

… and I’m probably leaving something out.

So, in the ideal world, your marketing & promotion efforts will generate commerce transactions with your customers.  And it should be your customers choice to use any particular channel.  Your offers, products, promotions should all be visible to your customers across all channels.  And that takes no small effort.

Here’s the next important point:  If you can’t measure it, consider not doing it.  The beauty of direct marketing, direct commerce, whatever you choose to call it, is that it’s measurable.  And with technology you can almost measure everything.  But not everything is worth measuring.  But if you’re not measuring anything, you’re wasting a lot of time and money.  And if you’re measuring so much you can’t comprehend the data or analyze the data, you’re still wasting a lot of time and money.

So, be deliberate about what you measure.  The most basic and most useful things to measure are:

  • customers who got an offer
  • customers who bought
  • how much they bought
  • how many they bought
  • what it cost to make the offer
  • what it cost to fulfill the offer

You’ll know a lot, if you keep these six data points for every channel and every promotion.

Think about this … it’s a lot to think about.


Filed under: Ideas, multichannel commerce, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Who will be first to publish their catalog for iPad?

Think about a catalog as a book.  Apple allows purchases from within their apps.  So it makes sense that someone will publish their catalog as an app for iPhone and iPad.

Automatic updates via Apple’s book store.

Actually, there are a couple of apps in Apple’s App Store already:  IKEA (UK), Pottery Barn (actually, they have two different ones), SkyMall … and several others which are not recognizable brands.

I wonder how their doing?

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, , , ,

Are electronic catalogs an alternative to paper catalogs?

Well, frankly, I don’t know the answer to that.  But as an avid direct marketing buyer, I know I’d rather get an electronic catalog than the collection of paper catalogs I get.  And it’s not because I’m trying to save the trees.  The trees (in reality) don’t need saving.  There are more trees in North America today than there were in 1776.

Web sites are for buying.

Catalogs are for shopping.

I’ve migrated from paper trade magazines to almost all digital trade magazines.  Why not catalogs as well?

Add functionality that let’s me click on any item in the e-catalog to add it to the order form.  Or, add it to my wish list.  Or add it to my gift list.

Like most Lands End buyers, for a long time, I got a catalog every week.  Now, I get an email every day and a catalog only once per quarter or so.  I don’t think I’ve bought as much from Lands End as I used to.  I like to browse thru catalogs — I find things I had not previously thought of buying.  Sure when I need a new pair of jeans, I go to Lands End and buy them.  But there is more that I might buy, if I ran across them in a catalog.

Do you ever wonder if the staff at the largest direct marketing companies are direct marketing buyers?  I kind of doubt it because I feel like they miss what it’s like to be a customer.  And that’s why we don’t have very many electronic catalogs yet.

Maybe soon.

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, Opinion, , , , ,


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