March 4, 2008, 12:00 AM

David’s Cookies cooks up new ways to get repeat customers

Multi-channel retailer David’s Cookies is building on consumers’ love of sweets to get new as well as more repeat business through “sticky” new site features and participating in the checkout process on other merchants’ web sites, the retailer says.

Multi-channel retailer David’s Cookies is building on consumers’ love of sweets to get new as well as more repeat business through “sticky” new site features and participating in the payment process on other retailers’ web sites, director of e-commerce Dennis Consorte tells InternetRetailer.com.

“Customer acquisition is high on our list, but our previous model had been looking more at how much we can sell today and what return we can get today,” Consorte says. “Now we’re looking more at how long customers are likely to stay with us and their expected lifetime value.”

David’s Cookies, a unit of Fairfield, NJ-based Fairfield Gourmet Foods, is working with its site design partner, New York-based ECommerce Partners, to add features to DavidsCookies.com like dessert-of-the-month and cookie-of-the-month clubs. It’s also developing “fun” things that have increased repeat traffic like cookies designed with political messages related to each candidate in recent presidential primaries, followed by a tally of cookie sales to announce the most popular candidate.

David’s has also acquired new, multi-purchase customers at a low cost-per-acquisition by participating in the TrialPay system of alternative payments on other retailers’ web sites, Consorte says.

“TrialPay provides a new revenue stream and gets us to consumers we don’t normally have access to,” he says.

By participating in TrialPay, David’s Cookies appears among payment options on other retail e-commerce sites such as Winzip.com, which sells software for opening condensed electronic documents sent through e-mail. Winzip’s customers have the option to either pay Winzip directly by using a credit card in its online checkout process, or opting to purchase something from David’s Cookies or another merchant participating in the TrialPay system.

If the Winzip customer chooses to buy something from David’s Cookies, David’s pays Winzip a customer acquisition fee usually valued close to the cost of the Winzip software. TrialPay takes a cut of that fee. The system has been most effective on software retail sites, where customers have become accustomed to getting free software trials and often decline to make a purchase, TrialPay says.

By looking at historical buying patterns, Consorte figures the average number and value of purchases he can expect from new customers gained through TrialPay. David’s Cookies pays its TrialPay-related fees only when shoppers opt to purchase from David’s through a TrialPay partner site, but those customers usually make several repeat visits directly to DavidsCookies.com, Consorte says. “When we add up the numbers, it gives us a lot of average value per customer,” he says.

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