June 16, 2010, 3:07 PM

Hayneedle launches first brand awareness campaign

Niche store e-retailer consolidates backyard offerings.

Lead Photo

For the first time, niche store web retailer Hayneedle Inc. has consolidated its outdoor furniture, accessories and décor in a single web location. Hayneedle.com/backyard is part of a new brand awareness campaign labeled Hayneedle.com Backyard Summer. The campaign, which runs throughout the summer, includes promotions on radio and television as well as online contests.

“Outdoor is one of our strongest categories and where our value proposition of variety in depth and breadth of products really shines,” says Ash ElDifrawi, chief marketing officer of Hayneedle, No. 69 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “As a business, we’ve made strategic investments in our customer experience including customer service, product quality, our site, technology infrastructure and distribution. Now, it’s time to introduce customers to our brand.”

The strategy to improve brand awareness aims to also increase repeat buyers and reduce costs through paid acquisition channels such as search engine marketing, he notes.

Since launching the campaign May 17, Hayneedle, which operates 220 online stores, has started seeing results from radio contests and giveaways that it has conducted in eight markets, including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, through the CBS RIOT network.

“In markets where we’ve advertised on the radio, we’re seeing a double-digit lift in visitor sessions,” says ElDifrawi, who declined to release any specific sales information. “We’re also seeing our brand recall numbers go up by double-digits as well. Before when people bought from us, they didn’t realize that they were buying from Hayneedle, but rather from a stand-alone niche site like Hammocks.com.”

On Facebook, the company has launched the Hayneedle Hustle contest. Shoppers can enter to win a $15,000 gift certificate by uploading video of themselves dancing with a picture of a product that they purchased on Hayneedle. The company also gave away a $15,000 gift certificate as part of a segment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where five contestants had to play blindfolded musical chairs to vie for the gift certificate. The runners-up received $500 gift certificates and the show’s audience members each received $100 Hayneedle gift certificates.

The company also enlisted Eduardo Xol, a designer on ABC-TV network’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show, as a celebrity designer. As part of the campaign, Xol has been tweeting on Twitter and posting comments on Facebook with outdoor design ideas and special product discounts. He has also been featured on videos posted on YouTube.

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