Saleoutlet's Circulars Target Members

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Web-based outlet center Saleoutlet.com is using e-mail to make something new out of something old - informing patrons about sales using circulars. The company began sending e-mail circulars to its members late last month as part of the redesign of its Web site, www.saleoutlet.com.


"One thing I know about circular[s] is that it's price and item [that appeals to customers], and people look forward to their Sunday paper to find their circular in it," said Saleoutlet.com president/CEO Michael Aronowitz, who has worked on Sunday circulars for Wal-Mart and Ames. "So, I needed to develop some type of program for our members that they're going to look forward to."


Aronowitz said he was "overwhelmingly happy" with the click-through rate of the circulars but would not yet disclose response rates. However, one e-mail did have a poor response rate, according to Aronowitz. "We tried doubling up [sending two e-mails in the same week] on the holiday, and people really weren't interested in the second one," he said.


Saleoutlet.com takes a 10 percent commission on a sale and offers its vendors the opportunity to rent its house list of 75,000 people. "Let's say you just want to do a targeted e-mail to 30,000 people that are looking to buy china. You can rent a specific amount of names from us of people that requested information on china." A vendor can buy a line list or a photo, and Saleoutlet.com sends it out to its house file.


Saleoutlet.com plans to send 100,000 circulars each week this month and in March. Its goal is to grow - and target - the list in each successive quarter, according to Aronowitz.


"We will break the circulars off into target sectors where [vendors] are specifically looking to target people who are looking to buy leather goods, or the home furnishings will get a specific circular vs. the people who are looking to buy apparel.


The Saleoutlet.com launch was announced in June of last year with three vendors. Commerce began in October and November for the holidays. Unlike liquidaters such as Bluefly.com, Saleoutlet.com works directly with its vendors to keep their brand equity up. By December, the company had 100 vendors in 20 categories. Visitors to the site can search by product, category and price range under one database.


"We're trying to set up a one-stop [outlet] shopping center," said Aronowitz, who believes that Internet shoppers like to surf, but they like to surf on a specific site.


The site was redesigned late last month. Approximately 75 percent of its visitors are women ages 30 to 45. The first site was too complicated and technical for the demographic, according to Aronowitz. So now, the front end is much more very simple.


To attract people to the site, Saleoutlet.com advertised via radio campaigns, e-mail list rental and banner ads, but word-of-mouth has been its most successful way to get e-mail names. "We're probably going to do the same thing again this year, we'll probably just get a little more specific in our targets. We'll probably stay away from banner ads because we just didn't find it all that successful. We're going to get much more into e-mail marketing this year, and redefining our own lists," Aronowitz said.


Bit by Bit Interactive developed the back-end of the redesigned site, Saleoutlet.com developed its front-end.
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