InternetRetailer.com – Daily News for Thursday,June 9, 2005
What dogs taught Petco about e-mail marketing
Petco Animal Supplies Inc. director of e-commerce Heather Blank finds that what works for training dogs also works for building and using an e-mail list among site visitors. â€œReward them with treats and theyâ€™re yours forever,â€ Blank told attendees at Internet Retailerâ€™s Annual Conference & Exhibition this week.
That parallels the idea of providing incentives to online shoppers so as to entice them to opt into e-mail marketing lists, but an effective program does more than simply dangle goodies. Blank says marketers need to explain the value of signing up for e-mail at registration. At Petco, that includes things like receiving pet care tips by e-mail, and advance looks at new and upcoming merchandise. Registration is also the time to explain the benefits of signing up for e-mail, such as the idea that with advance notification through e-mail, for example, the customer need never miss another sale. An added incentive such as a discount off the first order after opting in sweetens the deal further.
The second rule of building and using an e-mail list to parallel dog training is the need to keep the dog–and the customer–interested so they donâ€™t stray. â€œExpress your thanks,” Blank said.. â€œThis should be the start of a long term relationship.â€ Blank pointed out that online visitors who donâ€™t already shop Petco stores may need different incentives to sign up for e-mail than those already familiar with Petco, for example.
As to finding the offer that will motivate a purchase, Blank suggested one way to get that information is by putting a wish list feature on the site. â€œIt`s your customer shouting at you to tell you what they want to buy,â€ Blank said. For that reason–and as another enticement to customers to buy–Blank said Petco will shortly rollout a gift registry for pets.