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News, tactics, and views for cross-channel commerce
ISSN 1362-2315 - issue 167 - March 2009
Survival of the fittest
By Miri Thomas
You don’t need to read more statistics to prospects. The catalogue features bundled skiwear
know that overall sales are down throughout offers, walking customers through everything they
the country. Nonetheless, some businesses may need for their skiing holiday—not just a great
are thriving, primarily by reducing overheads, way to shift product but also essential in positioning
increasing marketing activity, and offering a Muddy Puddles as an authority on children’s skiwear.
better deal for their customers. The catalogue—designed by Catalogues4Business,
which it reinstated as its agency after a year’s
Bright spot at Muddy Puddles hiatus—mailed in December, but managing director
Muddy Puddles, a cataloguer of all-weather Susie Cullen said that as the ski season draws to a
clothing for children, has implemented the close in February, she was building up to the last
above tactics, and they have contributed to an major rush during the February half-term break.
18-percent year-on-year rise in turnover, to “We’ve sold out of most stuff,” she told Catalogue
£1.6 million. And after hiring an ecommerce e-business in early February, “and there’s a really good
manager in the latter part of 2008—taking margin on skiwear, which we manufacture ourselves.”
the number of full-time staff to seven— To better promote its business cost-effectively
Muddy Puddles saw web-driven sales in the year-round, Muddy Puddles is developing a
three months to Christmas soar 60 percent community website called Muddy Puddles Active. It
from the previous year. will feature tips such as what to do with children on
Before Christmas, about 65 percent of rainy days as well as competitions. Cullen said that
Muddy Puddles’ sales came via the web. she hopes to create a Muddy Puddles “tribe”. The
This rose to 85 percent in January as the business already has a Facebook page that includes
business ramped up its a viral game and a photo album featuring the 2008
email marketing. One of its range; it currently has 69 fans. Cullen is amazed at
campaigns was a three-stage the positive response it yields. “Word of mouth and
sales promotion: The first trust are very important to us,” she said.
email announced the sale, the
second acted as a reminder, Old business, new tricks
and the final email notified If there were a secret formula for longevity, Woods
customers of end-of-sale of Morecambe would likely be in possession of it.
specials. In addition, Muddy The company, which sells nightwear and lingerie via
Puddles now advertises via catalogues, a website, and a shop, dates back to the
Google AdWords, which it 19th century. January sales were up 50 percent from
monitors carefully to ensure last year, with sales for the previous six months up 29
that it is using the most- percent overall and web sales storming ahead by 67
relevant keywords at all times, percent. “We’ve been working extra hard, making
and it is in the process of sure that we’re selling lingerie ranges we hope our
adding customer reviews to its customers will want,” said owner and managing
site. It also sporadically uses a director Nick Race, “and these positive results are
pop-up survey on its site to ask hopefully proof that we’ve been getting this right.”
customers their opinion of its Race has also worked hard to ensure that the
products and customer service price stays right for Woods’ customers. “We managed
as well as of the website itself. to agree to deals with our suppliers that will support
Muddy Puddles carries out its prospecting in the our prices through the winter sale period, a welcome
autumn to promote its best-selling items, children’s addition on the margins,” he said.
waterproofs. To further drive winter sales, this year In the autumn Woods ran a prize draw for
Muddy Puddles tested a standalone ski catalogue, a holiday in the UK and offered free gifts and
which mailed to 300,000 customers and
continued on page 33
News Tactics Views
pages 2-6 Restructuring at Findel, Urchin pages 8-22 Special focus on print creative, pages 23-35 Review of the AA Lingerie
appoints a liquidator, Cox & Cox invests in plus website KPIs, how to write a business website, Q&A with Inverawe Smokehouses’
Cowboys and Cupcakes, plus the M&A year plan, the dangers of overly frequent marketing director, and House of Bath’s
in review emails, and more Dara O’Malley gets ready for spring cleaning
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