Monday, March 19, 2018

6 Offline-to-Online Marketing Integration Best Practices

Despite all the doom and gloom in the retail sector, such as the planned liquidation of Toys R Us, some retailers are doing some great things in terms of marketing. While Bed Bath and Beyond (BBBY)'s stock price has fallen by over 33% the past year, its latest in-home mailer offers some great examples of O2O integration across its digital and offline marketing programs.

When I first received their Spring 2018 mailer, it is clear they are migrating to more of a lifestyle brand catalog, like Pottery Barn. It's thicker (84 pages!) and on higher quality paper stock. In the past, it was a few pages and the paper was junk mail-like paper quality.

Spring 2018 in-home catalog


Open up the first page and BBBY immediately and prominently promotes its mobile app, telling you how you can easily shop the catalog via mobile by just scanning the catalog's front cover with the app's AR scanner.
Mobile app promotion


Also on the same page, since they're talking mobile, BBBY promotes its Instagram profile. But I'm surprised they did not also promote its Pinterest page, because home decor is so popular!

Cross promotion of BBBY Instragram acount


One of my favorite tactics is their suggestion to enter specific keywords into its website's search bar to see all the same products laid out in its catalog:

Shop the room: Search keyword cues in catalog

Close-up example of keyword: airy living room

If you type "airy living room" on its site, you see the below landing page, which is a great hand-off from the catalog. This is so much easier for consumers than trying to recall a long website URL path to manually enter in a web browser.

My only suggestion for improvement is to make the room photo interactive so if I click on an item I like, it has an anchor link on a hotspot to take me directly to the specific product description rather than scroll through the extremely long landing page with all the products listed below the main photo.

Landing page if you search for "airy living room" on
From an analytics perspective, the keyword CTA is great because from your web analytics tools, such as Adobe Analytics that BBBY uses, you can see the exact search volume for each keyword entered to truly gauge how popular this tactic is! Because let's face it, no one in his/her right mind will think of entering "airy living room" without some kind of prompt =)


Throughout the catalog, BBBY has CTAs to go online using vanity URLs. Near the end, it even has one page that promotes many of its offerings online.

Vanity URLs galore from catalog page!
All these URLs resolve and redirect to longer URLs. For example, redirects to redirects to BBBY's credit card partner Comenity's website:

What is noteworthy here is that Comenity has assigned a unique campaign tracking code to this URL. This gets passed to its Adobe Analytics as a campaign parameter to easily and surgically track the session of a user that came from this ad placement in BBBY's catalog. Perfect! Unfortunately, BBBY does not have these detailed campaign tracking codes in the vanity URLs that drive to its own website for some reason, so that's a big analytics miss.


Typical 20% off coupon
As many of you know, BBBY is extremely generous with its distribution of 20% off coupons. This direct mail catalog was no exception. While the retailer thought about weaning itself off of such promotions a few years ago, it hasn't. But I'm glad to see that if you're going to offer a coupon, track the heck out of it! Here's what they are doing that more retailers need to do. BBBY's direct mail coupons have unique bar codes on them for tracking purposes. These are unique based on customers in its CRM system. When a user redeems the coupon in a physical store (or online), this tracking code is captured and BBBY knows you actually bought something in store.

But many retailers stop short of doing something useful with this insight. BBBY sends a personalized email (see below) a few days later to (1) thank you for your recent in-store purchase and (2) ask you to rate the purchase to help populate its user reviews on its website. This is a great example of tying your print, web, email, and CRM marketing campaigns together with a bow!!! All this is done without me ever realizing they matched, on the back-end, my email address from an online order I made once a long time ago to my CRM profile. I didn't have to give my name or email to the cashier in the store. It was all tied to the physical coupon seamlessly!

Thank you email tied to recent purchase
(BTW, if you didn't know, these BBBY coupons never really expire despite the expiration date printed on them.)


Last year, BBBY bought, an online interior decorating service that matches a consumer with a designer to design a room together in one's style and budget. The catalog is sprinkled with new Pro Tips throughout from designers on and encourages readers to go to to learn more.

Decorist promotion

In summary, most of this #O2O goodness can be done by any retailer with nominal investment. Marketers just need to be willing to invest in strategic planning and coordinating efforts across departments to do what's best for their brand and customers!


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