T. Shipley Strikes Online, Offline Deals for Father's Day

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T. Shipley, a retailer of upscale products for business professionals, will use Father's Day -- its biggest occasion for sales along with graduation and Christmas -- to strike online and offline deals to reach consumers through a variety of channels.

The company has struck alliances with online and offline marketers in the finance, travel, hospitality and retail categories to target the 51 million business professionals who spend an estimated $10 billion annually on gifts.

"What we've tried to do, where possible, is to set most of our partnerships and strategic deals as revenue-share programs," said Shawn Mielke, vice president of marketing at T. Shipley, Maitland, FL.

Launched in the fall of 1998, T. Shipley sells via catalog and online at www.tshipley.com. Its products include briefcases, office and personal accessories, travel items, writing instruments, electronics, mobile accessories and event-based gifts.

To put the word out this Father's Day, T. Shipley started out by roping in two big names in payment franchises, MasterCard International and Citibank's Diner's Club.

MasterCard will promote T. Shipley to its cardholders as a premier Father's Day gift provider and will feature it in the travel, gift and business categories of its site. Diner's Club will include T. Shipley in its Club Rewards catalog.

Similarly, loyalty program SkyMiles has included T. Shipley in its monthly print collateral to cardholders, who earn double air miles for purchases through June. The retailer also is mentioned as a Father's Day gift provider in material sent out by the Direct Marketing Association, supported by a presence on the DMA's shopthenet.org.

In a bid to expand its reach, T. Shipley has agreed to be part of Nexchange Corp.'s merchandised content package that is delivered to 150 Web sites. T. Shipley's products will be featured alongside other retailers' offerings on sites that are primarily content-based.

It also struck relationships with Internet-only companies. Savingsmall.com ran T. Shipley as its featured merchant in May. Another partner, Saleoutlet.com, features T. Shipley on its site as a test of the response from nearly 2 million women who visit the outlet site each month.

T. Shipley is not neglecting the potential of its own properties. It will soon launch the Great Father's Day Vacation Package give away in conjunction with the Hyatt hotel chain and Golf Week magazine. Site visitors who register are eligible for prizes such as vacations, T. Shipley products and Golf Week subscriptions.

"We're kind of capitalizing every single aspect of this multifaceted approach to marketing -- build our brand, get our name out there and basically test, test and test," Mielke said. "Since we're still in the early stages, we're really positioning ourselves for 2001 as well."

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