Catalog and Direct Selling: Crossing the Channel
Do make sure points program transactions can be downloaded to the catalog channel database. Customers enrolled in frequent-buyer programs, or points programs, typically are very responsive to promotional offers that double or triple their points for a particular type of transaction. It may sound elementary, but if you’re going to offer a bonus for shopping in a certain channel, make sure you can track which channel was used to make a purchase. Under-stating points can occur when the order information for each channel is not integrated, or if the points processor (external vendor or in-house) isn’t working closely with the customer database. Don’t assume the databases are compatible or that each system captures the same data in the same way.
Do use data from both the catalog database and the Internet database to complete a match-back on e-mail address or ship-to address to determine if a catalog customer responded to an e-mail campaign. Sending an e-mail promotion to announce the arrival of the latest catalog, or to remind customers of a special product offer, is a popular e-marketing strategy. Determining the effectiveness of these e-mail efforts can be cumbersome, however, because some customers use a variety of e-mail addresses (work, home, Webmail, etc.). Catalog databases are just beginning to include one or more fields for the customer’s e-mail address.
While the Internet database may store all the e-mail addresses relating to a single customer record, the catalog database might consistently replace the e-mail address field in its database with the most recent address. Thus, customers might place their orders online in response to the campaign, but only because the Internet database was used to e-mail them.
To analyze responses, the catalog team asks the Internet team to provide a match-back of all e-mailed responses. Because separate databases were used—and responses may come from addresses not found in the catalog database—the analysis may indicate an inaccurately poor response. Remember, each system is different, and the Internet database probably is more robust than the catalog database.