8) Notification: Provide your opt-in customers with e-mail reminders about sales, seminars and other events at local stores. This also holds true for catalog promotions.
9) “Request a Catalog”: This gets the catalog to customers and gives them an incentive to provide demographic information such as address, e-mail and opt-in permission. Clerks can collect this information at your stores, or customers can click the usual button on your Web site.
10) Contests: Accept contest entries through all three channels. Don’t require e-mail addresses, but do offer an input line for e-mails for those customers willing to volunteer the information.
11) Check the site: Train sales staff to check the Web site when local stores do not have specific items in stock. If the store has Web access or kiosks, store staff should help the customer order online.
12) Gift registries and wish lists: These can be easily implemented through a Web application. Individual lists can be instantaneously updated when an item is purchased or when the list’s creator adds or deletes something.
13) Catalog quick-order: This is a staple of e-commerce sites—allowing customers to shop by catalog product code online—and universal data access can bring it right into a retail store. Hand the product to the customer over the counter or place a catalog order if it’s not in stock.
The opportunities are limitless. Even though the implementation of universal business logic could mean a considerable overhaul of your online systems and databases, it should be seriously considered for your next major Web-site revision. Your customers are expecting it.
Ken Burke is president and CEO of Multimedia Live, an e-commerce technology and development company based in Petaluma, Calif. He can be reached at (707) 773-3434 or by e-mail at email@example.com.