November 25, 2002, 12:00 AM

Flowers, Gifts & Jewelry Part of the everyday shopping experience

(Page 4 of 4)

“People like our 30-day money-back guarantee, but if they have to lay out $300, even if they really like the item and know they can return it, there is sometimes a psychological barrier,” says Pinny Gniwisch, vice president of marketing and co-founder. “If they have to lay out only $75, or $50, they’ll take the chance. Plus they still get the 30-day guarantee.”

Gniwisch says 40% of Ice’s customers use the multi-pay option, which he estimates has been responsible for 30% of a doubling in sales for the company since last year, with sales now reaching about $1 million per month. Ice hopes to further boost sales with a pay by check option it plans to add shortly.

Ice does a good job of communicating credibility to shoppers, says Retail Forward senior vice president Mary Brett Whitfield. The near-constant display of the “why buy Ice” message throughout the checkout process as well as on the home page and free shipping, free gift box and 30-day return guarantee are winners. “If a customer gets hesitant about purchasing, those reminders are constantly there,” she says. “That shows a good understanding of what your customer might be needing during the sales process.” Whitfield also praises the search functionality that lets shoppers choose materials, item, and price in any combination, calling it, “one of the best across multiple categories, not just jewelry.”

“Great prices, beautiful navigation simple checkout that reassures customers,” is how Gniwisch sums up the site. Since customers have voted with their pocketbooks, it’s safe to say that’s the combination that makes Ice sparkle.\

Ice.com

Date
1999
Unique Visitors
900,000/mo.
Sales
$1 million/mo.
Design By
in-house
Site Search
in-house
CRM
in-house
Affiliate Management
LinkShare Corp.
Fulfillment
in-house
Order Management
in-house
Returns Liquidation
in-house
Web Analytics
NetIQ Corp.
Payment Processor
CyberSource Corp.
Content Management
in-house
E-mail Management
DoubleClick Inc.’s Unity Mail

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Red Envelope
It’s all about the experience

RedEnvelope.com is nothing if not consistent and focused. Two years ago, the retailer of upscale gifts said corporate gifts were the next logical extension. Today, RedEnvelope has completed a move to a new 200,000-square-foot distribution center in Columbus, Ohio-four times the size of its previous facility-that will give it room to fulfill corporate gifts next year. Two years ago, the company re-designed its web site to emphasize simplicity. Guess what-it just tweaked it again. “Our approach has not changed,” says Hillary Billings, chairman and chief marketing officer. “We’ve always tried to create as entertaining, interesting and inspiring an experience as you can get online.”

Another thing that has not changed at RedEnvelope is its stellar merchandising. “The pictures are beautiful, the screen layout will fit anybody’s screen and product names are carefully chosen,” says Duif Calvin, San Francisco-based retail analyst. “They do an outstanding job of using merchandising to drive sales.”

RedEnvelope was established as a high-end gift site three years ago. And it’s gone even more upscale since then. As it changes merchandise most additions push the price boundary higher. “As customers get to know us and trust us, the demand for higher-priced gifts expands,” Billings says.

The average customer-40s, 60% female, two-wage-earner, $75,000+ household -buys two or three times a year from RedEnvelope. But the average customer gives 20 to 50 gifts a year, so part of the focus next year will be on increasing frequency. Although the company hasn’t settled on an approach yet, Billings says a loyalty program is likely to take the shape of free gift wrapping. “Our most loyal customers order gift wrap often,” she says. “It’s an important part of our brand.”

Indeed, gift wrap fits nicely into the RedEnvelope experience. “It’s really not about the product,” Calvin says, “it’s about the experience of getting the product. It’s about how the product will fit into your life or your recipient’s life.” RedEnvelope also is planning to boost frequency by expanding its gifts for everyday occasions, such as birthdays, weddings and new babies.

RedEnvelope’s main marketing channel is its catalog, which it has had since early 2000. Today, the catalog drives 50% of orders, although half of those come over the web. RedEnvelope also has deals with MSN, Yahoo and AOL. And it recently launched its first affiliate marketing program, using Performics Inc. and LinkShare Corp. The affiliate initiative is a natural move, analysts say. “They’ve got great products, presented well, with good service,” Calvin says. “The challenge now is in reaching a wider audience.”

RedEnvelope.com

Date
October 1999
Unique Visitors
700,000-2.8 million/mo.
Sales
$1.35 million - $33 million
Design By
SheGeek Design

Site Search

Broadvision Inc., in-house
CRM
Ecometry Corp., Facetime
Affiliate Management
LinkShare Corp.
Fulfillment
Ecometry Corp.
Order Management
Ecometry Corp.

Returns Liquidation

Ecometry Corp.
Web Analytics
Kana Software Inc.’s Broadbase, InfoCentricity Inc.
Payment Processor
Paymentech L.P.
Content Management
BroadVision Inc., in-house
E-mail Management
Experian

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