Monday, November 26, 2007

Backend sales

Some people refer to repeat business as backend sales. I have never liked this term, and mention it only for those who have seen the term and aren’t quite sure what it means.

If someone makes a purchase from your website, you then know what kind of merchandise they are interested in--or so the theory goes--and with that information you can target your marketing to that individual more effectively.

I personally am not a believer in this internet store state-of-the-art gospel, even though many successful internet marketers swear by it. Why not?

1. Just because grandma buys a stuffed teddy bear from you doesn’t mean teddy bears are her main interest in life. Or that she is personally interested in them at all in the future.

2. Immediatly jumping on a customer when they have just paid you a compliment by making a purchase on your website is pretty tacky in my book--something a car dealer would do. Dear piece of meat, thanks for buying a car from me. Now how about life insurance? No? Then how about some undercoating spray? No? Then how about...

These are not complimentary sales. They are blood-squeezing.

Why can’t you just say “thank you” and let it go at that? Just keep sending out your attractive catalogs and helpful hints (I’m talking about your monthly newsletters) and stop beating your customer over the head. Do YOU like to be constantly “targeted” like that?--or are you so used to it you are numb to its rudeness?

By all means, do keep sales records and make notes of buying patterns. That's not what I'm talking about exactly. Doing that falls under the category of being helpful. I just don't think you should immediately make assumptions about a person's buying habits after just one sale to them. Yes, I realize Amazon does this constantly, and they are successful. I don't know. I still don't like it.

Concentrate on repeat business, and in doing things to deserve it. That’s what I say. Relax! Don’t be so hyper! Concentrate on being helpful instead of becoming a bird of prey.

Build it right, and they will come.

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