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Sharper Image releases first catalog since new ownership

The Sharper Image, which relaunched last year following bankruptcy, released a 68-page Father’s Day catalog on June 1. It is the first mailing for the new company, according to Steve August, who was named CMO and senior VP of Sharper Image in January.

The catalog includes an annual list of the company’s top 10 Father’s Day gifts, which are a collection of its top selling products. Popular items include wireless speakers, electric shavers and other tech gadgets that are the mainstay of the Sharper Image brand.

The catalog is intended to inform future mailings for the newly emerged company, including three planned for the 2010 holiday, August said.

“It was more of a toe in the water to make decisions, and to get data around segmentation, product and just data points for building our models,” he said.

After Sharper Image filed for bankruptcy in early 2008, a joint venture of Bluestar Alliance, Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Brothers purchased the company and closed its brick and mortar stores. Private investment firm Camelot Venture Group bought the rights to the failing company’s catalog creative and relaunched its e-commerce site. At the time, Camelot promised to bring back a 2009 Holiday Gift Guide, as well as a full 2010 catalog mailing.

The company sent the Father’s Day catalog, which included a May pre-drop, mainly to former Sharper Image customers (the company retained that list through the sale), as well as to a list of new prospects which Epsilon’s Abacus helped procure, August said. He declined to say how many catalogs in total were mailed but said its circulation for the entire year will be in the “multimillion range.” The brand hopes to eventually return to pre-bankruptcy mailings of 60-90 million, he added.

Elevate Group in Dallas, TX, designed the Father’s Day mailer, which was full-color, 8×10 inches and had a similar but more “lifestyle” look to it compared to the original Sharper Image catalogs, August said. Quad/Graphics handled printing. In addition to the printed catalog, the company created a special promotional section on its e-commerce site to highlight the top Father’s Day gifts.

The Sharper Image is making use of a number of direct marketing tactics this year, including offering discount coupons to consumers who sign up to receive e-mail from the brand and offering Twitter followers $10 off their next purchase for filling out an online informational survey.

“Our goal is to fill the void that Sharper Image left when it did leave the marketplace,” said August. “There’s still a market for cool, innovative products.”

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