Catalog and Direct Selling: Crossing the Channel
Dos and Donts for Cross-channel Offers
Simply put, a cross-channel offer is a way to entice customers who have made a purchase in one channel (e.g., catalog, retail, Internet) to make a subsequent purchase in a different channel. Why would you want to do this? Analysis continues to prove that cross-channel shoppers are much more profitable than single-channel shoppers.
Since most company operating systems (call center, order entry, marketing database) were developed prior to the information superhighway, marketers have made their share of mistakes pioneering the Internet.
To avoid repeating their mishaps, here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider before you promote your next cross-channel offer.
Do include the fine print—such as the offer’s expiration date and exclusions. When you forget the fine print, customer service is bombarded with questions, complaints and account adjustments (such as that one brilliant customer who wanted to use four 25-percent-off promotions to save 100 percent). The fine print helps customers understand the parameters of the offer you’re making them. It also assists your customer service team when it comes time to address the issues.
Do carefully review the logistics of your program with each channel manager. One of the most common problems with catalogers promoting shopping at retail stores is the quagmire of dollars-off versus percent-off. Most catalog order-entry systems are programmed to capture source codes and to calculate discounts according to the offer. However, when cross-channel promotions entice customers to shop retail, store registers often aren’t equipped to handle marketing efforts that combine source code and offer. This type of nuance often overshadows the entire promotion and significantly reduces the overall effectiveness.
Do make it easy to order. Prominently display the search-box function and quick catalog-order box on your Web site. Catalog customers receiving promotional bind-in cards (or blow-in cards) with a special online order discount often become victims of the ordering process. Since the objective of the promotion is to increase the number of cross-channel shoppers, the target audience usually begins with customers whose previous purchases all were through the catalog channel. But when these customers are ready to switch channels and place their orders online, the Web site home page can overwhelm them. You’ll lose customers if they can’t figure out how to place an order.