Jul 20, 2000
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ShopTalk.com is a service for female consumers “who want to save money, but don't have the time to research products, offers, samples and discounts themselves." Users can enter their personalized mailbox via phone or Web to receive offers targeted to their profile. "Convenience is a relative concept," says CEO Eric Linn. "When you're at work it's very easy to use the Web. As soon as you jump in the car or you're busy with kids in your arms, convenience changes -- the Web becomes very hard to use." Shoptalk’s challenge was to sign up large numbers of these ultra-busy moms.
ShotTalk’s commerce partners, or "marketing partners," as Linn calls them, including Blockbuster, JiffyLube, FTD.com, ROXY.com and Pizza Hut help promote awareness about the network to their customers. "They look at it as customer retention.”
ShopTalk’s direct mail campaigns draw an average response rate of 3-4% new program users with a simple message that cuts straight through to their prospect’s heart -- "We're helping busy Moms save time and money."
So far Shoptalk has signed up more than 400,000 individual users and continues to grow substantially every month. Over 90% of users are female, average aged 39, with children under 15. Aside from direct mail and partnership marketing success, ShopTalk has found that a significant number of users arrive by word-of-mouth. Mainly, users "find value and tell other people." Seeding a program with 5,000 users in a pilot in the Chicago area, ShopTalk grew by20,000 users.
"It's important to have multiple access points besides the Web. Make what you're doing is accessible through other channels that allow people to get to you when they want. People aren't always online. We also find that women are looking for convenience and control. They are tired of messages being blasted at them when it's not convenient," says Linn. "We're learned that the women in our program want control of marketing. They know what they want and they want to be able to go get it when they want it."