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Dogs and online shoppers share some traits: they’re easily distracted, respond to rewards, and building relationships with them takes trust. At Petco, that translates into an e-mail marketing program that works by addressing all three points.
Petco Animal Supplies Inc. director of e-commerce Heather Blank finds that what works for training dogs also works for building and using an e-mail list among site visitors. “Reward them with treats and they’re yours forever,” Blank told attendees at Internet Retailer’s Annual Conference & Exhibition this week.
That parallels the idea of providing incentives to online shoppers so as to entice them to opt into e-mail marketing lists, but an effective program does more than simply dangle goodies. Blank says marketers need to explain the value of signing up for e-mail at registration. At Petco, that includes things like receiving pet care tips by e-mail, and advance looks at new and upcoming merchandise. Registration is also the time to explain the benefits of signing up for e-mail, such as the idea that with advance notification through e-mail, for example, the customer need never miss another sale. An added incentive such as a discount off the first order after opting in sweetens the deal further.
The second rule of building and using an e-mail list to parallel dog training is the need to keep the dog--and the customer--interested so they don’t stray. “Express your thanks," Blank said.. “This should be the start of a long term relationship.” Blank pointed out that online visitors who don’t already shop Petco stores may need different incentives to sign up for e-mail than those already familiar with Petco, for example.
As to finding the offer that will motivate a purchase, Blank suggested one way to get that information is by putting a wish list feature on the site. “It`s your customer shouting at you to tell you what they want to buy,” Blank said. For that reason--and as another enticement to customers to buy--Blank said Petco will shortly rollout a gift registry for pets.