January 25, 2006, 12:00 AM

At e-Scholastic, lesson of the day is leveraging the web for loyalty

E-Scholastic, the e-commerce arm of Scholastic Corp., grew its 2005 calendar year web sales by 23% to $270 million by following a simple strategy – launching new products across existing channels that build even more customer loyalty.

E-Scholastic, the e-commerce arm of Scholastic Corp., grew its 2005 calendar year web sales by 23% to $270 million by following a simple strategy – launching new products across existing channels that build even more customer loyalty.

In March, Scholastic, No. 43 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, named Seth Radwell as president of e-Scholastic. Since then, Radwell has been designing and implementing new e-commerce programs that connect the company even more closely with its core customer segments of teachers, administrators, parents and K-12 students.

For instance, e-Scholastic is rolling out new modules for Club Ordering Online, an interactive school book site, for parents. While the site is used mainly by teachers, e-Scholastic is now extending web access to the Club Ordering Online catalog to parents. Teachers will be in charge of forwarding the Club Online Ordering catalog and the final order must be placed by the parent through the participating teacher.

Rather than give parents direct access to Club Ordering Online, e-Scholastic believes giving parents access to the catalog will spur more indirect web sales, reward participating teachers and make parents with children in school more loyal customers. Teachers earn points that they use to get materials, including more books, for their classrooms, Scholastic says “We are extending the product to include more parents, but also providing extra incentives to teachers,” Radwell says. “This is how we can leverage the web to broaden our reach to our core customer segments.” Scholastic says it also uses its web sites as a resource for parents and students by offering programs such as homework hubs, reader clubs and scholastic news.

Another way e-Scholastic is using the Internet and e-commerce to spur more sales is by building new online learning sites and developing more niche products aimed at school administrators and teaching assistants. Later this year, e-Scholastic will introduce a distance learning site that features reading enhancement tools and courses. The next initiative is enhancing a web store with features, functions and merchandise that appeals to administrators.

“We have a rich history of serving teachers, administrators, parents and students, and we are reorganizing our web strategy to address these core customers,” Radwell says. Radwell will be the second day keynoter at the Internet Retailer 2006 Conference & Exhibition in an educational session titled The New Role of Market Segmentation.

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