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Sending brochures with orders a good idea?

     
8:19 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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hi,
we run a couple of sites selling toys & merchandise relating to a popular sport.
at the moment we send a very basic one colour, one sided A5 flyer with all of our orders (approx average about 2000/wk) ie showing some special offers.

we were thinking of perhaps progressing to a more fancy full colour brouchure showing more products etc.

does anyone think that sending brochures with orders is a good idea or just a waste of money?

cheers.

8:44 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Well I can tell you that when I buy something online I have generally did my homework, learned what the company I used can provide and ordered this. When they send me a brochure along with the goods it's a total waste of paper since it goes straight into file 13. If I need anything else I will go back to the website anyway.
9:00 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I agree with BeeDeeDubbleU. We put a 1 page color flyer in with all of our shipments as well, on the back of which has information regarding returns, damages, etc. No one ever even reads that...

I have a recycling bin next to my trashcan designated for all the extra papers I receive. A website I frequently order delivery food service from places such things in my bags...entirely to my dismay.

However, not all customers are created equal. Do you have a way of tracking repeat purchasers? If so, why not do an A-B split test and put the current flyer in half and an expanded flyer in the other half. That should tell you if its worth expanding the program.

9:31 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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thanks for your replies - what about sending a discount voucher/code with each order - has anyone tried that?
9:41 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've purchased pens with our company info and discount codes on them for orders past a particular level (approximately 2.5x our average transaction). We've had a reasonable return/repeat customer rate using these promotional items.

Have to make sure it's a good product if you're doing promos/freebies, though - there's nothing worse than a useless refrigerator magnet/calendar. I tried out ~10 different pens before I found this one and thought "you know, if I were back at [insert old crappy office job here], this would be my favorite pen."

9:56 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I tend to disagree with BDW & HN. The opening of the first package is a very important moment in your relationship with a new customer. Getting that second order within a couple of months has been shown to have a strong correlation with the lifetime value of a customer. Anything you can do to educate your customer about your product offerings and your professionalism is money well spent, and a nice looking brochure accomplishes both.

I've had one experience that really stood out in the past six months. There is a company that sells products related to a favorite pastime of mine. I knew of them, but had never ordered anything. This summer I found myself in need of a rather commodity type of product, and ordered it from their website. It arrived on time, and the first thing my eyes saw when I opened the box was a "New Customer Gude". It had information on the company, a recent catalog, and a personal, hand-signed letter thanking me for their business. To top it off, there was a coupon for 20% off my next order if made within 2 months. I now consider this company my first option, simply because of that initial package.

11:12 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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arieng - good points - agreed, its all to do with presentation & initial impression - information pack for new customers' is a great idea.

our product is almost 100% 'kids' orientated so i'm not sure how our brochures/offers etc would be appreciated - the parents pay & the kids' open the parcel.

perhaps a suitably designed 'kids type' brochure would do the trick?

11:17 pm on Oct 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Depending on the age...

- coloring books
- stickers
- trading cards
- action figures
- etc.

Kids like unexpected free stuff as much as adults do!

1:06 am on Oct 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've started a similar thread about three times over the past 5 or 6 years. We've tested a number of brochures, gifts, coupons etc to go in the box with the merchandise. Nothing was particularly successful.

When I buy online which is not that often, I find that large companies like Amazon include nothing in the box except the receipt. And they should certainly know how well such enclosures work.

6:12 am on Oct 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Anything you can do to educate your customer about your product offerings and your professionalism is money well spent ...

Well I don't sell stuff but I am qualified to comment as a buyer. What you are suggesting is that the customer needs educated, which is almost certainly not the case. I am also not interested in any company telling me how professional they are. If I order from them I can experience that and judge for myself.

Some customers may need education but I would think that the vast majority are capable of finding what they need on a website. If not then perhaps there is a problem with the website.

Jsinger makes a good point in that Amazon don't do this and they could be your yardstick.

3:54 pm on Oct 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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One perfect example of where this could be very useful is when the recipient is getting it as a gift from the buyer. The recipient may never of heard about your web site, and not even be very web-savvy. But getting a brochure describing all the other items you have may create a new customer.
5:42 pm on Oct 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I ws thinking, why not ask your customers? I can't see there being a standard answer across industries, so what works for a book company may not work for a fashion company. The age of your customers may also make a difference - older people often like catalogues/brochures, whereas younger people may just bin them.
5:46 pm on Oct 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've purchased several "fulfillment by Amazon" items over the past few months and they've all had additional inserts/offerings/ads for different things. Perhaps it varies on the item purchased or shipping center.
6:44 am on Oct 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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why not start tracking if you get any results from your flyer. Put a promo code (offering a discount) and a slightly different phone number on your flyer and check if people use it.
Also read a book I found to be very helpful:
"No B.S. Direct Marketing: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Businesses" by Dan Kennedy.
Although your initial sale seems to be online, you can apply many of the traditional direct marketing tactics to your business once you have the customer.
HTH
7:21 am on Oct 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Everybody likes a coupon. Few use them. If that coupon is at the bottom of a ONE PAGE FLYER which displays other items, great! Otherwise make the expenditure work elsewhere. (ALWAYS CONSIDER COST FIRST)
12:11 pm on Oct 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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As a regular web purchaser I like a printed brochure.

I'm very focussed when searching via the web but when sitting on the sofa with a catalogue or brochure and a coffee an impulse buy is far more likely.

But try not to keep sending the same brochure to repeat customers.

3:28 pm on Oct 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Here is an interesting twist on this.

We partner with other small business who are peripheral to our business. For example, if we sale cigars we may partner with someone who sales air fresheners.

We then put one of their flyers in our packages to introduce our customers to them. If our partner sells something that is of interest to our customers, we have them add our flyer to their packages. Other avenues is the partner will pay a small fee per flyer added to our box if we dont have somethign thier customers are interested in.

This has worked out nicely for us.

7:07 pm on Oct 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

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That certainly is an interesting idea ssgumby. Do many customers reference having heard of your company via the flyers?
1:10 pm on Oct 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

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HugeNerd,

Yes, on our flyer that is included in our partners shipments we offer a discount code. We then track these codes. So in Company Foo's boxes we may have a coupon FOO5 to save 5%. We can then see over a period of time that out of 500 flyers we got 100 orders (I dont have actual numbers right now).

11:50 am on Oct 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I use a firm selling novelty toys and games, they include a catalog with a discount voucher on the back, one other person that I work uses this company. Therefore the catalog gets passed a round at work.... So yes it does work

[edited by: lorax at 12:28 pm (utc) on Oct. 13, 2008]
[edit reason] fixed typos [/edit]