Extending Upselling and Cross-Selling Efforts (2,414 words)
Lillian Vernon uses upselling to speed sales of slow items in its current edition instead of waiting for the next mailing to add a discount. Mike Berg, vice president of customer communications, explains that as responses come in for each edition, Lillian Vernon tracks which items are selling slowly and cuts the prices, decreasing overstocks before they happen.
While cross-selling opportunities and suggestive selling are unlimited on the Web, a catalog still can display only a finite number of items, restricting cross-sell opportunities to a certain degree. For example, Lillian Vernon reps identify which catalog volume the customer is using before they make offers.
Says Hochberg, "If you are using catalog volume 908, the rep knows which items to offer you. Say you're ordering from Lillian Vernon's home decor catalog. Well, obviously, we can't sell you anything from Lilly's Kids catalog because you don't have that in front of you."
In fact, Lillian Vernon does a limited amount of cross-selling between catalog volumes, as well as extensive upselling of inexpensive add-ons. Says Hochberg, "Some things we can sell unseen. A lot of our products require batteries, and you can upsell batteries because you need them to make the product work. There is a handful of items that you don't need to see a picture."
Explains Liz Kislik, a call center consultant with Liz Kislik and Associates, "It's possible to sell items that aren't in the book, but you have to be careful. If you sell something that's not in the catalog, it has to be easily understood and visualized. Otherwise you send returns through the roof."
While selling between different catalog volumes such as Lillian Vernon's home decor and holiday editions is possible, marketers who have multiple, discrete titles have even more difficulty selling between them. Why? In order to cross-sell between books, their databases must be integrated on a product level. For most multititle publishers, this isn't practicable.