Friday, 23 April 2010
In its email titled Inkjet or Laser...which is right for you, OYYY explains the difference between an inkjet and a laser printer, providing information on advantages and disadvantages of both as well as a selection to choose from. This approach could be applied by other retailers in different sectors. Think LCD or plasma TV, dog harness or regular collar, three-wheeled or four-wheeled baby buggy, the possibilities are almost endless.--MT
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
This week’s volcanic ash clouds are creating havoc not only for air-travel passengers but also for cataloguers shipping orders to overseas customers. Many British catalogues have well-deserved reputations for providing excellent customer service. Here are some proactive ways you can maintain goodwill with your customers in the face of the ongoing overseas shipment delays.
First, contact your courier. Ask Royal Mail, Fedex, or whichever delivery company you use, how the delays are affecting your shipments.
• Which of your shipments had already left the UK before the air space was closed last week?
• Which shipments are in the pipeline at UK airports or other UK transit points now, ready to leave the country once the air space is reopened?
• In view of the likely backlog of shipments once air traffic resumes, how long will it take the shipper to deliver these in-the-pipeline shipments to your customers?
• How long will it take your shipper to deliver any new shipments you give it now?
With this information in-hand, you should post on your website the information about the current shipping delays and your policies for dealing with them. You should also email your customers every couple of days to update them on the status of their orders and your policies.
• Customers whose orders have already left the UK will appreciate the peace of mind of knowing that they should expect to receive them as anticipated.
• Customers whose shipments are stuck in transit and will be substantially delayed will be able to make other arrangements if they need your product immediately. You should seriously consider letting these customers cancel/return their orders at no cost--they will contend that it is not their fault the Iceland volcano chose to erupt while their shipment was sitting at a UK airport. You might also suggest they email you when they receive their shipment, so you can get an idea of how long the shipping process is taking once air shipments resume.
• For new orders, you should advise your customers of the likely length of the shipping delay and offer them the opportunity to cancel if that delay proves to be excessive.
You can also take this opportunity to bond more closely with your customer. Your emails can reinforce your regular good customer service. For instance, you might point out that you normally ship orders within 24 hours and that they typically arrive in the US 10 to 14 days later, but that due to the volcanic ash cloud, the current order will be unavoidably delayed. And, once overseas shipping returns to normal, you might give the affected customers a special thank-you discount on their next purchase.
Many British catalogues have established excellent reputations for their customer service. Taking these proactive steps now can help you retain your customers’ goodwill in the face of the volcanic ash cloud’s impact on overseas shipments.
David Ballard is managing director of Ballard Direct, which has helped a number of British catalogues enter the US market. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Here’s what I liked about it:
1. It was personalised—the subject line was “Miri - So you think you know the 80's”? I don’t actually profess to know the 80s—I didn’t grow up in the UK, so everything I know about the 80s was learnt once the decade was over. But still, now I felt I had something to prove. GetTheLabel had succeeded in persuading me to open the email.
2. It linked to a Facebook Quiz—and that’s all it did. There were no products promoted in the email. However, by clicking through to the quiz, respondents allowed GetTheLabel to access their presumably rich Facebook data. The retailer also added tracking code to the click, so it can measure exactly how successful this email was in generating opens and click-throughs. On the quiz I was greeted with questions like "what commercial was Michael Jackson filming when his hair caught fire?", and "which female tennis player won Wimbledon the most times in the 80s?". Before getting my results I was invited to share the app with my friends so they could do it too. This is a neat way for GetTheLabel to spread its message (and discount code, see below) to a wider audience.
3. There was a reward after all—GetTheLabel incentivised the quiz with a 10 percent discount on spends of more than £50. I've blocked countless of pointless Facebook quizzes from my profile, and I am sure others have done the same. But by offering a tangible reward, GetTheLabel has more chance of sustaining attention spans. Also, on the results page GetTheLabel gave me the option of trying more quizzes, returning to my profile, or clicking through to shop at its site. I opted for more quizzes, where I found three more quizzes that GetTheLabel had devised, each with a discount code to reward the Facebook user for his time.
Oh, and if you’re curious I scored 11 out of 15.—MT
Monday, 12 April 2010
One reason for the increased popularity of free p&p last month is, we assume, to soften the blow of full-price, new-season goods. What’s more, of the 31 catalogues offering free delivery, 19, or 61.3 percent of them, offered it unconditionally to further coax shoppers to open their wallets. Overall, it was less surprising the at the most aggressively promotional catalogues were mailed by business-to-business merchants.
Stationery supplies marketer Viking sent us a 12-page A4 catalogue called Switch & Save. It promised that if we chose to switch from our current stationery supplier to Viking, we’d be making a saving by beating competitors’ prices. Considering we already have an account with Viking (amongst others), I am surprised this landed in our office. Another business catalogue making a similarly bold claim is promotional products cataloguer 4imprint, which says it is “100% behind our 100% satisfaction guarantee”. As part of that guarantee it is offering double the difference if customers find a lower price elsewhere. Further, if the order is not delivered on time, the entire order is free.
Thursday, 8 April 2010
On closer look, however, the chicken isn’t all there. If you zoom in on the chicken’s feet, one of them is transparent. So much for contemplating your place in the world.--MT
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