Mini-Stores Help Insert Marketers Acquire Online Customers

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To help insert marketers overcome the challenges they face when trying to track prospects who are cross-channel shoppers, marketing and technology company Indros Group has created the Mini-Store platform, an online promotional tool.


The Mini-Store platform was designed for insert marketers, though other direct marketers such as those in direct response television also can use it, said Tej Kohli, executive vice president of Indros Group, Brooklyn, NY.


"Many insert marketers have been unable to effectively track online orders generated by direct mail prospecting," Kohli said. "This is crucial information to have to be able to really understand your customers."


Worse yet, he added, some consumers never even reach the item they are looking for on a marketer's Web site.


That's where Mini-Stores come in. A Mini-Store is essentially a microsite based on an insert or other offline promotion. It is, as Indros Group defines it, "A free-standing online promotion used to acquire cross-channel customers from direct mail promotions."


The company began developing the platform about five years ago, aiming to increase online response rates, separate print buyers from online buyers, track orders and key codes accurately and let insert marketers test offers online.


Each Mini-Store focuses on the specific offer made in the insert piece received by the consumer but contains more detailed information relevant to the offer and branding consistent with the marketer's identity.


"Since an insert is usually a single-product promotion, it makes sense to have a Web presence that mirrors that," Kohli said. "Consumers often get frustrated when they go to a marketer's Web site and have trouble locating a specific item or finding enough information about it."


A Mini-Store mirrors the look of the printed piece, he said, so consumers stay focused on the promotional message and are more likely to buy. Indros Group claims a Mini-Store cart abandonment rate of 25 percent versus an industry standard exceeding 65 percent, according to Kohli.


Print inserts are assigned unique URLs so that purchases on the Mini-Store sites can be tracked to the proper mail piece and Indros Group can provide real-time response rates for Mini-Stores. Mini-Stores also can have multiple versions based on the unique URLs to let marketers test different promotional offers and get quick results.


Order data collected on Mini-Store sites can be downloaded directly into the marketer's online or offline house file database in the preferred file format.


Crediting online sales back to a print insert is the most valuable aspect of the Mini-Store, Kohli said.


"With more and more people going online after receiving a print insert, it is so important for marketers to be able to track multichannel sales," he said. "It is a key metric for direct response profit and loss analysis."


A Mini-Store's cost is based on performance, with Indros Group charging either a percentage of the transactions or a flat fee per order plus a design fee as an upfront cost of creating the site. A Mini-Store can be created and launched within a few hours, Kohli said. More information can be found at www.indrosgroup.com.


Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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