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Pier 1 Imports CEO Alex Smith is excited about the company’s significant shift toward a more sophisticated customer response. Company officials have expanded their customer engagement methods considerably to ultimately drive greater brand loyalty.
“We have been involving our media mix placing a greater focus on digital, social, and email,” Smith said during the Sept. 24 second-quarter earnings conference call, according to Seeking Alpha. “We are also expanding our direct mail program with increases in page counts and circulation of approximately 25% this year. During the first week of September, we sent out our customary monthly mailer and, for the first time, it was distributed in multiple versions, 15 to be precise. This was accomplished by using our new segmentation campaign management tool.”
Complementing the company’s September mailers was a 92-page look book called Indoor Living. More than two copies of this large format book were shipped, twice as much as last year.
“We’re extremely pleased with the initial response rates to both the mailers and the look book,” Smith added. “For holiday, we are introducing a new holiday decorating look book, full of seasonal decorating ideas, which will complement our November mailer. We think the holiday decorating book look spectacular and positions Pier 1 Imports as the go-to-destination for holiday. With this, we now have three large format books Outdoor Living, Indoor Living, and Holiday Decorating. We believe our evolved marketing strategy, when married with our customer data excellence program and non-tender loyalty, will allow us to achieve both objectives, a steady growth in new customers and greater frequency from existing customers.”
What’s more, Smith said the company’s active customer database has reached an all-time high, and is still growing.
“As we start to capture more robust and actionable data in the coming quarters, we will be best positioned to leverage our marketing initiatives,” Smith explained. “The more we know about our customers’ purchasing preferences, the more we will able to show products that resonate.”
Smith said the company has rebuilt its entire database from the ground up.
“Our new database is ready and will go live next month,” he explained. “The next component was the development of segmentation capabilities, which were just completed in the second quarter. The third element of the program was the implementation of a new campaign management tool that enables us to version our direct mail and emails. As I noted, we used this tool this September. We expect our expertise in this area to grow exponentially over the coming quarters.”
Store associates have done a great job selling an excellent customer experience, “leveraging our new in-store selling tools and engaging the customer, regardless of the reason that she is visiting our stores, to buy, to browse, to pick up merchandise for any combination,” Smith added.
The home furnishings market has changed dramatically in the past few years, Smith said.
“To stay ahead and maintain our competitive position, we had to change,” he explained. “That is why we embarked on the transformation from a pure brick-and-mortar retailer to an omni-channel organization, a transformation conducted at speed and in the full public eye. What we have not changed is our competitive position in the marketplace, offering unique and special products that have a high aesthetic appeal at affordable prices.”
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