Today I received a very interesting email from the Vice President of a major women’s clothing catalog. Their usual fare includes chic, affordable business clothes Latest Mailing Database for women with some sporty casual pieces mixed in. I’ve been a customer of theirs since 1987, when my sister and I both ordered a bunch of value priced turtlenecks. Since then, their clothes have been the staple of my business wardrobe. I’d say that I wear something from their catalog at least once a week.
But things change, and when I moved to Virginia in 2007, my wardrobe changed too. I spend my days working out of my home office, where business casual is the norm. I’m more likely to spring for another pair of my latest wardrobe staple, super-comfortable moccasins, or a good pair of Wellies to work in the garden than another business dress. I purchased only a smattering of items, most of them discounted, in the past year to update my wardrobe, but gone are the days when I completely refurbished my business wardrobe when I new trend I liked caught my eye. There’s another reason why I haven’t ordered in a long time. I can’t wear the latest fashion trends. They look absolutely awful on me. And this company has, over time, stopped carrying the classic pieces I loved and has begun instead to carry almost exclusively uber-trendy pieces I can find anywhere in town.
It’s always a great idea to check your database for active versus inactive customers. Create a plan to engage inactive customers again. But first, find out WHY they’re inactive - it could be many reasons, and not all of them can be fixed by a coupon. Have customer engagement and dialogue mechanisms in place for direct, one to one communication. But don’t just collect the data - make sure you use it. If you work in a large corporation, can you distill customer feedback into short, sweet action items for executives, product directors and marketing managers? Can you spot overall trends in customer comments? For example, if customers repeatedly say, “I stopped shopping from you because you no longer carry what I like” it sounds as if your product selections are straying from your implicit brand promise. People signed up for your marketing materials expecting one thing and are getting another. You can either invest in new acquisition campaigns to get customers more likely to buy along the new direction, or check and adjust your product selection - but the current model isn’t working. Whenever you see your inactive customer list growing, it’s time to get out your Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass and begin the investigation. There are clues out there to uncover. It’s up to you to find and act upon them.