Peet's Coffee Sees 20% Response Rate

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Old-school retailer and cataloger Peet's Coffee & Tea Co., Berkeley, CA, plans to use more e-mail to perk up direct sales after the company's first campaign generated a 20 percent response rate.

The purveyor of whole beans, coffee, tea and brewing accessories targeted 20,000 java drinkers who had either made purchases or registered through the company's Web site, located at The company has sold coffee via retail locations in California since 1966, and also markets through catalogs.

Special coffee blends that can be sold for only a short duration make good candidates for e-mail rather than catalog sales, said Heather Corcoran, Peet's director of marketing.

"Certain coffees are available for a limited amount of time," Corcoran said. "E-mails are a very easy way to let our customers with an interesting in something like that know about [those] coffees."

In its initial campaign, Peet's peddled Anniversary Blend, a special mix commemorating the company's 33rd year. The coffee was roasted for only a month. Buyers of more than a pound of Anniversary were offered a free pound of Top Blend, another of the company's coffee brands. E-mail marketing services concern Digital Impact, San Mateo, CA, put together the campaign.

The all-text e-mails contained links to the company's Internet site, which acts as a virtual store. Less than 2 percent of the recipients opted out of future e-mails, said Corcoran, who added that the company will continue to target names it has gathered through its registration page. Corcoran said Peet's plans to spruce up future campaigns with HTML-based e-mails.

Peet's has been on the Net since November 1996 and has handled orders online since February 1997. The privately-held company's annual revenue exceeds $60 million.

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