Verizon Sales Break Through During Safety Week

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Verizon Wireless effectively tied in with National Wireless Safety Week to bump up sales at its online store by 20 percent in one week.

By offering free shipping and a Hands Free Combo Kit to customers who purchased certain handsets and a service plan, Verizon also boosted traffic to by 20 percent during the week, which was May 21-28.

"We have definitely seen an increase in activations and sales on a daily basis," said Mark Lawson, director of e-business at Verizon Wireless, Bedminster, NJ.

Lawson expects phone and service sales to remain strong throughout the promotion, which ends July 13.

He said the site's live, interactive poll, which ran during Safety Week, was a main driver of traffic. Visitors submitted their views on wireless safety, and results were published on the site. A Flash ad linking visitors to the survey raised awareness of the poll, and when television news programs began reporting on poll results, traffic steadily increased throughout the week.

A pop-up ad on the site with a link to the survey also increased awareness of the poll. Banner ads on and search-engine placement prior to Wireless Safety Week fueled traffic. The campaign was supported solely online.

Verizon Wireless is just starting to focus on promotions for its online store and has not yet developed an e-mail marketing program.

"Because our Internet channel is our lowest cost of acquisition, we were really trying to develop that channel by offering an incentive" with the free shipping and Combo Kit, Lawson said.

"A small percent of our customers are online customers," he said. "We would definitely like to drive additional activations through that channel and add functionality."

Lawson predicts that the site will alleviate call center traffic by the company promoting it as a place to answer customer questions and other customer-care functions, instead of serving strictly as an e-commerce vehicle.

"We did see an increased interest in self-help [during Safety Week] and in our data products, such as Mobile Web and Mobile Messenger," Lawson said.

Verizon Wireless has created an e-mail list, which will be used in future marketing initiatives to obtain new customers and offer upgrades to current customers.

Offline, Verizon is ensuring that every piece of collateral includes its URL.

"If it's a marketing piece around Mobile Messenger ... or a prepaid product, we make sure they understand they can purchase that [at our online store]," Lawson said.

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