Online lead generation drives catalogue sales
The UK-based multichannel apparel retailer, Next, increased sales through its 'Next Directory' catalogue channel by 2% not by increasing traditional media advertising but by launching an online lead generation campaign provided by marketing agency Clash Media.
Next operates one brand across several channels: 460 retail stores, an e-commerce web site, and the Next Directory mail order/telephone catalogue. The online lead generation campaign was designed to drive increased awareness and interaction with the offline catalogue, and resulted in some 10,000 new sales leads.
New ways of targeting customers With fewer people shopping on the High Street, and bricks-and-mortar retail sales figures for 2007 being the worst for thirteen years, the UK's retailers clearly need to find new ways to reach potential customers. With rapid consumer take-up of high-speed internet connections, the internet was identified by Next as the obvious channel to target and acquire new customers.
In July 2007, online sales were 80% higher than the same month the previous year, and by December 2007 online sales had reached £15.2 billion (up from £9.61 billion in 2006). So, while Next already had a direct marketing campaign in place, Clash Media was appointed to provide more leads for the Next Directory, taking advantage of the ongoing growth in numbers of internet users.
Relevance-based targeting The Next campaign was generally aimed at women, and the catalogue was supplied only with leads from that particular consumer demographic. Clash Media aimed the Next Directory campaign at the most responsive audience and used only its most recent consumer registration data to ensure accuracy and relevance. The leads produced were based on opted-in registrations (without incentives) which meant that the quality of the leads was greater (because only those who were genuinely interested in Next's offering were registered).
The online lead generation system drives web users to the company's web site to automatically capture consumer details, qualify each lead, and send them through for sales agents to convert. The leads are sent directly to Next's own CRM system where agents can follow up with the customer within minutes of submitting their details. Because this means leads are followed up while they are still 'hot', the conversion rate tends to be significantly higher than other acquisition techniques.
The online lead generation process produced nearly 10,000 brochure requests during 2007. By Christmas 2007, Next reported that sales from the Next Directory had increased by 2.2% over six months compared to a 0.3% decline in High Street sales.