Higher Average Orders, Lower Costs Per Order

Today’s post is by ShoppeSimple’s newly hired Director of Analytics, Tim Weiss:

My first task on joining ShoppeSimple was to discover how our TransactionalRSS (TRSS) feed program is working for our clients. For what we call our “merchant direct” clients, ShoppeSimple’s TRSS system is a three-legged stool:  a store on shoppesimple.com, a website icon, and an email footer icon.  These three elements are proving to be a powerful tool in both acquiring customers, and in generating new purchases from existing customers.

My take: I have been in the direct-to-consumer catalog, direct mail, e-commerce and fulfillment space for more than 20 years, including co-owning toyclassics.com, a catalog and web business. I can honestly say that I would probably still be a co-owner of toyclassics.com if I had been able to use the shoppesimple.com program.

Why?  Well, what is the biggest challenge today for direct-to-consumer merchants that utilize print and e-commerce? Acquiring new customers at or above an acceptable financial threshold.

The second biggest challenge? Converting single buyers into multi-buyers  and increasing overall retention rates.  And we need to meet these challenges in a time of declining email response rates.

I had all this in mind as I did my initial analysis of ShoppeSimple’s performance for our clients.  Here’s what I found:

1)      Higher average orders overall .

2)      Lower blended cost per order by 25%-50% for both new customer acquisition and existing customer repeat purchases.

3)      New to file customers comprised 25% of total orders.

4)      For buyers, 30% either subscribed to a feed via RSS reader or on their personal homepage.

5)      Subscriber average order was 15% higher than non-subscribers.

My take is that both customers and non-customers who receive email or visit a website (or both) were intrigued by our icons, and then after clicking on them were compelled to order not only because of the deals offered, but because See Deals Page “exposure” experience.  By exposure, I mean they were exposed to another method or ordering – via the feeds, or, once they saw the See Deals Page, they felt more confident with the merchant.

I’m excited about the possibilities for ShoppeSimple in 2010.  We’ve added the audience from local media networks and content providers like the StarTribune and organizations like the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce.  Our goal is to reach 10 million unique visitors on ShoppeSimple in 2010, which, based on what I see today, should drive profitable growth for clients who participate fully in the ShoppeSimple program.

Tim Weiss comes to ShoppeSimple with more than 20 years in the direct-to-consumer catalog, direct mail, e-commerce and fulfillment experience industries. Tim co-owned the toyclassics.com catalog and website, and River Valley Direct.  He has been Vice President of Marketing at Acorn Media and served in marketing roles at Target Direct/Rivertown Trading,  and Sportsman’s Guide.