Q&A: Amy Sullivan, director of e-commerce, Brahmin Handbags

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Amy Sullivan
Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan, director of e-commerce at Brahmin Handbags, discusses why her brand won't abandon direct mail. 

Q: Would you consider Brahmin Handbags' website a tool more suited for e-commerce or brand building? 

A: Our site features immediate calls-to-action to sign 
up for new catalogs and our 
e-mail newsletter. Our website is definitely e-commerce and not so much for brand building. We do try to use a lot of lifestyle and brand imagery throughout the
site. We use model shots 
and product shots. Some 
of the shots you would see 
in a catalog, we'll use throughout the site to evoke brand identity.

Q: Are email and print effective acquisition channels for you? Do you think Brahmin will ever abandon print?

A: They are both very influential. Email is our No. 1 driver of traffic and conversion to our site. The online catalog is No. 2. We won't ever abandon print. We'll continue to do a mix of both in the next few years. Print has become expensive and it's limiting in how many people you can reach. But we do have a customer segment that still likes to receive a catalog at home, view it, use it for a couple of months, and then go to our site or call our call center. As long as we have that segment, we won't abandon it.

Q: Do you think that segment is getting smaller?

A: That segment is not getting smaller for us. We do, however, work with Zmags to offer the catalog to more tech-savvy customers who use iPads and Facebook to view it. Zmags created an online version that allows us to reach more customers, and customers in a different way. We can launch an online catalog in a couple of hours versus sending something to a mail house and having it printed, which takes weeks. You need to serve people no matter how they buy from you or where they're buying.

Q: An entire section of your site is dedicated to Web exclusives. Can you talk a little bit about why those are important? 

A: We have such a large wholesale presence in department stores. In order to maintain online customer loyalty, we offer Web and boutique exclusives to keep the customer interested in coming back. They want the latest styles and trends, and that's more important to a dot-com customer than a department store customer. Customers come to a website because it will show them the newest styles and trends. Those items are probably at a higher price point that won't sell to a mainstream department store customer.

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