March 3, 2005, 12:00 AM

The Online PX builds on its stores and catalog to promote web sales

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is promoting the site through bag stuffers, an in-store radio network broadcast to 660 PXes, an in-store TV network, 15 product catalogs and supplements, and advertising in weekly PX sales tabloids.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, which operates PXes in military bases as well as AAFES.com, is leveraging its multi-channel presence to promote the web site, Mike Westphal, senior vice president of marketing, tells Internet Retailer.

AAFES is promoting the site through bag stuffers at checkout, over an in-store radio network broadcast to 660 PXes around the globe, through an in-store television network, in the 15 product catalogs and supplements that are mailed annually to members and via advertising in weekly PX sales tabloids.

In addition, it recently sent a free copy of its 600-page catalog, which normally sells for $5, to customers who have not placed an online or catalog order for at least 18 months. “We’re refreshing their memory about the business,” Westphal says.

“The Exchange Online Store is a quiet success and is continuing to grow by finding new ways to promote the site to members and educating them on how to buy online,” says Jim Okamura, Chicago-based senior partner with retail consultants J.C. Williams Group.

The Exchange Online Store in 2004 generated $126 million in sales, up 10% from 2003 and 67% greater than 2002. The web accounted for only 1.6% of the AAFES’s annual revenue of $7.9 billion last year.

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