E-Mail Helps Quill Boost Online Sales 600%

Twice-weekly e-mails by Quill Corp. to its business customers have contributed to a 600 percent increase in online revenue at Quill.com during the past six months, according to the office supply marketer.

Lisa Iannuzzelli, Quill's senior Internet marketing manager, said the company's online business has grown steadily since it began the e-mails in January 2000 with the help of Digital Impact. Quill, which is the business-to-business division of Staples Inc., expects the Web site to account for 20 percent of business this year and 40 percent next year.

The e-mails go out each Wednesday and Thursday with specials and exclusive offers to a subset of Quill's database. Iannuzzelli would not comment on the size of Quill's database or how many customers it reaches with the e-mails.

Alex Kriney, Digital Impact's account executive for the Quill account, said the e-mails generally are segmented by industry with the offers tailored accordingly.

“The look and feel [of the e-mail] is similar, but the offers are different,” he said. “The goal is to drive revenue to the Web site.”

Digital Impact also is developing incentive programs such as coupons and sweepstakes to drive more of Quill's offline customers online. The latest campaign featured a coupon for a free Pilot Precise Gel Roller pen with the customer's next online purchase of $75 or more.

Quill's catalog and online businesses are separate but complementary, Iannuzzelli said. “Our catalog and Web site are tied to each other,” she said. “A lot of customers use our catalog when they shop online. Our customers use our catalog as a price-comparison or reference tool.”

In addition to generating sales and moving offline customers to the Web, Iannuzzelli said, the e-mails are designed to retain existing online customers and bring back customers who have not bought from Quill in the past three months.

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