Toy cataloger Sensational Beginnings learned a significant lesson last year: Pay constant attention to marketing.
Online retailers must always stay on top of their marketing plans, says Rusty Bailey, Internet marketing manager. “We now more clearly note and understand what works and what doesn’t,” he says. “We make changes as needed, and we’re willing to take risks and trust the gut instinct of our staff.”
The company, No. 398 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, recently took time out to review its marketing plans for the past three years. As a result of the review and site analysis, staff members were better able to determine timeframes when consumers “look” vs. when consumers “shop” for the company’s children’s toys, furniture and safety products.
“With a stockpile of information, we now know there are key dates other than Chanukah and Christmas when sales increase,” Bailey explains. “A major piece of our new marketing plan is to target those dates and those shoppers, providing them information and color images to make wise choices and a web site that makes their visits more enjoyable.” Still, the Sensational Beginnings catalog continues to be the company’s best marketing tool, he adds.
Sensational Beginnings expects e-commerce revenue of $9.5 million this year and online sales to account for greater than 50% of total sales. The company reached 2005 web sales of $8.8 million, a 26.9% jump over $7 million in 2004.