February 14, 2009

Lapsed Buyers And E-Commerce

Most businesses have a lot of lapsed buyers. These are customers who have not purchased in thirteen or more months.

In catalog marketing, there are many established best practices for marketing to lapsed buyers. Catalogers frequently bump their list up against the co-ops, mailing a 24 month buyer (one who hasn't purchased in the past two years) who recently purchased from a competitor. And this strategy works. Catalogers can profitably mail and reactivate customers who have not purchased in five years.

Ok, now you're an e-commerce business leader, one who doesn't believe in the fossilized version of direct marketing employed by traditional multichannel merchants. The customer hasn't purchased in twenty-four months, and does not have a mailable e-mail address.

How do you encourage this customer to shop with you again? In other words, how do you create demand with a customer, a customer you choose not to contact with traditional direct marketing?

This is our future ... and we need to be thinking about how to deal with it.