November 29, 2001, 12:00 AM

A new take on e-mail marketing converts browsers to buyers

Although retailers are only just beginning to realize the potential of e-mail catalogs, vendors are already developing offshoots of the product to help retailers convert e-browsers into buyers.

Although retailers are only just beginning to realize the potential of e-mail catalogs, vendors are already developing offshoots of the product to help retailers get better response rates from e-mail marketing. Australia and New York City-based The Wotch Network began marketing its downloadable minibooks during the Sydney Olympics last year and are now wooing retailers in the U.S.

So far, clients are undisclosed but the technology is compelling. Retailers can use the Wotch product to send e-books, e-catalogs, or e-brochures.. However, to get the most out of this marketing effort, the technology does not rely on the e-mail system of the recipient. Rather, it sniffs out the recipient¹s browser capability and sends that person a message connecting through their browser. Or, retailers can choose to have that e-mail connect to their own web site. The end result is an electronic presentation that looks like a book on the computer screen.

Wotch CEO Colin Fabig says response rates during the product¹s test period were promising. This e-mail product got click-through rates as high as 35%. And once the recipient downloads the e-catalog or e-brochure to a desktop, the user can reconnect at any time to browse and shop. Fabig says 6% of those who tested the product used it to make purchases. The company also is working on adding a permission-based alert feature that would give the recipient a pop-up window for updates on featured products or sales.

In addition to good response rates, the product generated viral marketing capacity of up to 25%, which means that 25% of requests to download the e-catalog or e-brochure came from recipients who had been forwarded the original email, says Fabig.

Fabig says that retailers will be interested in the technology of delivering such media through e-mail to save money on printing out catalogs or brochures. He said it can cost a little over $5 to print and post a mailed brochure. It only costs about 87 cents to send an e-brochure using Wotch¹s technology.

 

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