Online Marketing for that Sock Puppet Feeling


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It has already been a full decade since I purchased my first holiday gifts online. In fact, in 2000 I made a point of purchasing ALL of my Christmas presents online, just to stick it to the brick-and-mortar stores whose crowded aisles and relentless holiday music scotched any hopes for fun in holiday shopping.

Now, 10 years later, a sizeable number of retailers are finally beginning to find their online business worthy enough to include in their overall monthly sales reports. Some, such as Macy’s, started doing this years ago, having realized early on the potential of e-commerce. Macy’s – taking it a step further – began investing millions in warehouses and technology to support its online channel.

I have a hunch it is money well spent. Consider that online sales generated an estimated $1.6 billion for Macy’s in 2010 – up 26 percent over a three-year period, while its total sales declined 1.7 percent, according to At Kohl’s, online revenue advanced by a whopping 45 percent, to $733 million, while total sales increased 3.7 percent. And at the Gap, online sales rose 13 percent over three-year period, to $1.3 billion, while total sales declined 2.4 percent.

In total, e-commerce sales increased almost 15 percent in 2010 over 2009, to more than $165 billion, reports. That represents 4.2 percent of total retail sales – small, yes, but the growth trend outpaces that of overall retail.

All of which signifies the importance to marketers, specifically loyalty marketers, to use the customer data they gather online to build the business. Not to carpet bomb their customers with one-size-fits-all promotions, but to send select offers based on specific purchasing behaviors, that say, “Hey, we get you. We understand your needs.” Some do this pretty well – DSW comes to mind. But others (sorry, Borders), just send daily alerts that do nothing more than junk up my in box.

Who knows? With a deft touch, marketers might even be able to rekindle that warm-and-fuzzy feeling we all had upon first seeing the sock puppet. Wouldn’t that be a win for everyone?

Lisa Biank Fasig
Lisa leads the creation of editorials and feature stories for COLLOQUY and oversees the work of contributing editors and writers. With 18 years of reporting experience, most in business and specifically consumer behavior, she is highly skilled at researching data and teasing out the trends. A background in graphic design enables her to see ideas in three dimensions and tell the story visually.


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