January 10, 2016

How The Heck Do I Target Customers With Specific Merchandise Preferences?

When it comes to targeting, there's a lot of people who are like this young lady here ... they'll tell you all the reasons why what I am about to suggest during the course of the following week won't work. 

Here is what I have learned. Your business is a big 'ole bubbling ecosystem. You just cannot see that it is a big 'ole bubbling ecosystem, because all of your reporting is designed to either measure a point-in-time conversion or a point-in-time response. You are measuring small stuff. Your ecosystem represents big stuff.

If you asked the people at any large company, they'd tell you that when a customer purchases from one merchandise category, response in other merchandise categories improves. Way back in 1993 at Lands' End, we learned this ... we had what were called "product referrals" ... customers who purchased Home merchandise in one of our monthly catalogs. The minute the customer bought Home merchandise in a monthly catalog, the customer instantly became more productive in Home catalogs. The secret to success in the specialty catalogs was to plant great merchandise in a monthly catalog, causing customers to buy there, causing future response in specialty catalogs to improve.

This is how targeted merchandise assortments work. You seed your ecosystem with top-selling items in various categories ... purchases of those top-selling items open doors into modest selling items and new items in various categories ... and purchases in those areas open doors into other merchandise categories.

Starting tomorrow, I will talk about how I calibrate variables that allow a business to target customers based on various product category purchases.