September 25, 2002, 12:00 AM

How Illuminations uses store receipt holders to generate e-mail database

Illuminations store associates place customers’ receipts in pamphlets that invite customers to register at Illuminations.com with their e-mail addresses. They immediately receive an e-mail reply with an offer.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Illuminations.com Inc. has launched a Candlelight Club in its 84 stores as a way to gather e-mail addresses from customers, Clay Lingo, director of direct channel sales and operations tells InternetRetailer.com. Sales associates place customers’ receipts in pamphlets that invite customers to register at Illuminations.com with their e-mail addresses. They immediately receive an e-mail reply with an offer that can be redeemed in any Illuminations channel--store, web or call center. While he wouldn’t reveal numbers, Lingo says the program has been successful so far. “The response rate is substantially higher than we hoped and the program is driving new business,” he says.

Illuminations also gathers e-mail addresses at the point of sale, then sends promotional messages to customers right away. “The open rates are very good and the click-throughs are great,” he says. Thereafter, Candlelight Club members receive an e-mail newsletter every month.

Illuminations has a base of about 2 million e-mail addresses, Lingo says. It communicates with several hundred thousand of those customers weekly, he reports, making targeted offers depending on past preferences. “We target them very precisely, even down to the level of what scent they like,” he says. Illuminations uses Yesmail Inc. to manage its e-mail program and Return Path Inc.’s e-mail change of address service to keep addresses up to date.

Lingo says Illuminations was uncertain at first if customers would accept weekly messages. Its unsubscribe rate is low enough that he concludes customers find the frequency acceptable.

 

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