Wine Enthusiast’s Glenn Edelman on Multichannel Order Tracking
As the number of marketing and media channels continues to widen, so does the variety of paths customers travel down to place orders. Glenn Edelman, senior director of online marketing and merchandising at Wine Enthusiast, the Elmsford, N.Y.-based multichannel seller of wine accessories and cellars, likes to say that someone could receive his company's catalog in the mail on Monday; google the company on Tuesday, click on a paid search ad and sign-up for Wine Enthusiast's e-mail newsletter; and then receive an e-mail on Wednesday that prompts a clickthrough and an order that same day. In his opinion, all four channels-catalog, search, e-mail and the Web-deserve credit for this order.
To learn how Wine Enthusiast tracks orders to give credit where it's due, we talked to Edelman about matchbacks, call centers and order audits.
Target Marketing: In what key ways do you assess the effect other channels have on sales coming from paid search?
Glenn Edelman: The main thing we do is put the order code at the bottom of every [landing] page. So if people click through on a paid ad, we'll have that little code on the bottom. And when they call in, our salespeople will ask them to check the code on the bottom of their screen. So that's how we're tracking search to the offline [order channels].
How does the catalog affect search? [We use] matchbacks through our database. So, if someone was mailed a catalog and then they clicked through and used what we call a Google code or a Yahoo code, we'll do it that way to see where the overlap is.
We'll do a lot of order audits, as well. The Rimm-Kaufman Group, our vendor, will send me all the orders that they attribute to paid search. Whereas we also look at what order numbers were driven by e-mail, comparison-shopping engines and by affiliate. So, it's a lot of auditing of the various vendors, because everybody wants to take credit for the orders they drive. But unfortunately, in this world, what we find out is that in many cases there might be two or three different marketing vehicles out there that drive a single order-which will drive up my marketing costs and affect my ROI.
TM: How did you decide on the placement for your order code?
GE: We used to put it in various areas, but we found that telling customers, "Scroll down to the bottom, right-hand portion of the page"-there's even a question that says "Ordering by phone? Use code XYZ"-makes it clear. I've wanted to test making it visible on other areas of the [landing] page, but right now it's simple. And someone who's not on the phone and is ordering online, 99 times out of 100, is not going to see it. So, it's not intrusive or confusing to them.
Personally, I have no problem with driving the customer to the phone, but I don't want to do it out of confusion. I want to do it because they're more comfortable with the phone or they want to speak to a wine cellar consultant.
TM: What challenges have you encountered in trying to account for the roles different channels play in driving sales?
GE: The biggest challenge I continue to have is how many touches per order do we really see? You drop a catalog. You send an e-mail. You have affiliate programs. We're starting to dabble in social media with blogs and Facebook and things like that. Every touch, I spend a dollar or two. On every order, how much is that true cost per order? It's getting harder and harder to find that out. And then also throw into the mix that we do a lot of print advertising in Wine Enthusiast magazine as well as in national newspapers. What our true cost per order is continues to be a challenge. I know everybody has that challenge.
You can't do a matchback on someone who saw an ad in a newspaper but didn't reference that ad when calling the call center or placing an order online. We'll be doing some postpurchase surveys [to assess media mix], but you can't do it down to the order level sometimes.
And I really had some eye-opening experiences when I started doing order audits. You think about yourself and the way you personally shop. People go to Google, and the comparison-shopping engines are so strong on the organic side that [people] click through to a NexTag or a BizRate, where they click on one of my links. And then maybe they go back to Google and then click on a paid Google link. The overlap there is enormous-and my thought is if that's where the customer is, then that's where I've got to be.