The Vermont Teddy Bear Company reported a 29% increase over last year in orders booked during the holiday period Dec. 1 to Dec. 26 across its four brands, with web sales a growing contributor. Web sales at its flagship BearGram brand represented 65.3% of the brand’s sales, up from 63.7% last year. The company’s other order entry channel is its call center.
“We are definitely seeing an increase every year in the number of customers wanting to shop online versus calling our phone center,” says vice president of marketing Irene Steiner. “That is a continuing trend.”
The number of online orders for the company’s PajamaGram brand site more than doubled this holiday over last year, Steiner says. Driving customers to PajamaGram`s call center and web site was a holiday TV, radio and catalog campaign. TastyGram, the company’s gourmet foods site, which generates approximately 99% of its sales online, grew 45% this year over last year’s holiday season.
That increase has been driven primarily by links to the site placed in the company`s other brand sites, and by increased cost per click advertising the company also has increased for its other brands. “We have been doing more cost per click advertising for all the brands that we have in the past, buying a lot of keywords and also misspellings of our brands, and it’s been driving traffic,” says Steiner.
The ongoing strategy in marketing the four brands is to aim for more female customers, she adds. “With Teddy Bear, we can capture those adult men who are buying for wives and girlfriends, but we can count on them only a few occasions per year. Women are the evergreen gift buyers who think about that birthday or that new baby or get-well gift. They buy all year round. Our strategy coming up with PajamaGram and in acquiring the flower company was to aim for that very valuable female customer and it’s working.” The company acquired floral direct marketer Calyx & Corolla in 2003.
Overall, The Vermont Teddy Bear Company reported receiving approximately 105,000 phone and online orders for its BearGram, PajamaGram, TastyGram and Calyx & Corolla gift products this holiday season. That includes 33,000 orders across web and phone for its PajamaGram segment, up 147% from last year; 28,000 BearGram orders, up 8% from last year, 43,000 Calyx & Corolla orders, up 4% from last year, and 1,700 TastyGram orders, up 45% over last year. For the fiscal year ended June 30, the company reported annual sales of $55.8 million, up 38% from the previous year.