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Smart Email Means Sales for Salco

May 1, 2007
by Christopher Heine

Wholesaler, Salco Distributors, has been using consistent, content rich email campaigns to drum up sales and maintain relationships at Salco clients find messages in their inboxes about Newest Products, Sale Items, Closeout Specials, Items Back In Stock and Company News. The company's graphics team is constantly tweaking the look and feel of the emails, which typically reach 9,000 customers.

"We try to look several weeks ahead towards upcoming seasonal opportunities, so that we can create eye catching emails with a visual theme consistent with that season or holiday," said Eric Engstrom, director of advertising and media at Salco Distributors, Largo, FL. "We attempt to complement the various magazine advertising pieces that we produce each month. We try to create a synergy between the print and the web. Our sales staff is briefed each week on these media communications, so that everyone is on the same page, to ensure that our customer interactions are at their very best."

Engstrom and his team have been honing their campaigns since 1999, tracking each effort to measure impact and render alterations on design, copy, price points and offers. They have seen their open rates run anywhere from two to eight percent; which are high results numbers for B2B marketers. "We have gotten a lot of feedback from our customers who say they have come to expect the emails every week and enjoy receiving them," Engstrom explained. "It is kind of like, 'Pavlov's Dog;' we have come to train them, and now they are using email as a purchasing tool."

Meanwhile, Engstrom says that sales conversions via email are on the rise for Salco. In the near future, he plans to extend the distributor's marketing efforts further into individual segments, focusing on niches, in addition to the broad market. Engstrom wants to utilize more of a divide and conquer strategy to service those individual segments. "We have tracked our emails and print ads and can see a steady increase in sales over the last 3 quarters," he said. "We have found that our email blasts have definitely increased product awareness and sales across all segments of our customer base."

Another recent aspect of emphasis for the Salco email programs has been in making the effort to tailor the content that is sent to the customer. Engstrom said his team hopes to give clients a better experience; one that does not waste their time and brings them to fully understand that Salco wants their business.

Salco has also synched up email and the website homepage ( by using corresponding Flash media pieces in each. In order to draw attention to the product, the firm positions the animated Flash file directly in the center of the homepage and also positions the product as the top feature in the email. "We also try to position the same product in each of our print ads during the time of the multichannel campaign," Engstrom explained. "Overall, we find email to be an evolving medium that presents challenges, but produces rewards for those who take it seriously."

Of course, going headlong into email marketing can be scary for a wholesaler who is fresh to the scene. Thankfully, Engstrom was kind enough to supply his top trio of Things To Do and Things Not To Do, after working the field for the last seven years.

Things to Do:

  1. 1) Do send consistent weekly or biweekly communications to your opted in client list. Your clients will rely on this information throughout the year to help them make proper business decisions.
  2. 2) Do use a good graphic artist to design attractive email. This will lend to your company's overall credibility as a professional organization. It is proven that people tend to buy more if products are presented in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
  3. 3) Do research on new products in the marketplace and get those products on your shelves before emailing. You want to be sure that the products are in stock and that you fulfill the orders as soon as possible. If the product is not in stock, be sure to clearly establish the date (in the email) that you expect the product to arrive, so customers do not face any surprises.
What Not To Do:

  1. 1) Do not send out an email blast without having your staff members proofread it first. Sending out a blast riddled with typos or errors in information will make your company look unpolished and unprofessional. "We have at least four staffers put their two cents in before our blasts go out."
  2. 2) Do not send extremely large emails. Make sure that your message is not too big, by having your graphic artist optimize all of the images in the email to stay within acceptable size limits. You do not want to send an email that is too large for someone to open, as the recipient's email service provider, such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, BellSouth or Comcast, may send it to the trash bin. "We try to keep our emails within 100k, if possible."
  3. 3) Do not send attachments. With the multitude of email viruses and spam being sent by the millions each day on the Internet, a lot of customers will not even open the email if it has attachments. It is not worth the risk for them. If you need to send a file in your blast, simply put the file on your server and place a link to it in the email. The customer then has a choice to safely view it or not.

Topic: Business Strategies

Related Articles: email  marketing 

Article ID: 203

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