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clothing retail catalog
QUELLE is an international catalogue retailer of clothing. In 2004 the company entered the Russian market, opening its own internet store a year later. The head of Quelle Russia’s marketing department, Anna Glavan, tells how modern advertising techniques have helped boost sales of a brand with an almost 100-year history.
— How did Quelle’s business model – selling clothing by catalogues – come into existence?
— A century ago there were travelling sales representatives, or commercial travellers, who went from house to house persuading housewives to buy various products. One such agent, Gustav Schickedanz, came up with the idea of sending out a printed catalogue by post, so he would no longer have to hang about on clients’ doorsteps. Thanks to his idea, in 1927 we had our first print run. A couple of decades later, the Quelle trading house opened in the Bavarian city of Fürth, and in the 1960s branches began to open in other European cities.
— How did the company come to Russia?
— The brand was well known in Russia long before the official representative office opened. Back in the 1990s, Quelle was a window into the Western lifestyle for Russians: they brought in copies from abroad, collected and kept them like glossy magazines. But our Russian clients were only able to start ordering directly in 2004, and about a year later our Russian-language internet store opened.
— What was the biggest challenge at that time?
— We had to organise delivery over a large distance. In Germany, for example, a parcel reaches its destination on average in three days, but in Russia it takes many times longer. This had to be taken into account in the logistical chain, as well as in communications with clients. We opened a call centre that people could phone from any town in Russia, and our own warehouses in Tver, and began working with express delivery services and collection points. All this helped to noticeably reduce delivery times. Now clients can follow the progress of their order directly on our site.
— What advertising methods do you use?
— Mailing out catalogues remains one of our main means of direct communication with consumers. But now we also reach clients over the internet and cannot imagine one means of promotion without the other. Of course we also use traditional advertising outlets – on television, in fashion magazines.
— When did you start to advertise on the internet?
— First we adapted our German internet store for Russian-language users, and that took quite a long time. Active promotion on the internet began in 2008, when the need arose to increase the volume of online orders. Media and contextual advertising became the main channels. We promoted so heavily that the announcement of one seasonal sale nearly brought down our server due to the heavy influx of visitors.
In Yandex.Direct we rely not only on search advertising, but also on thematic advertising
— You have used not only contextual but also banner advertising. Which has finally become your main format?
— We don’t aim to settle on one advertising channel. For example, to attract new customers we may simultaneously use several of Yandex’s instruments, because winning a client’s first order is the most difficult of all.
We also regularly experiment with new advertising products. We’ve had excellent results with a test placement of media banners using the Look-alike setting. In seven weeks we were able to achieve a three-times greater click-through rate.
— Why did you decide to place ads through an agency?
— We consider that it’s best to put such tasks in the hands of professionals. In that way we receive not just high-quality management of our advertising, but also information about new things on the market and analysis.
We work with a team from ADLABS, and even our first campaign on Yandex.Direct was professionally put together, with as many keywords as today. Such a close relationship has developed between us and the agency that we decide all important issues together.
— What difficulties arose with your first ad placements?
— At first our ads were very variegated. For QUELLE, like any other recognisable brand, it’s important to maintain a consistent style in all communications.
As a result, we put together internal recommendations for writing texts, and that helped a lot. It’s sufficient to say that our first ads appear in a modified form even now – the announcements of new collections. We automatically update the text with the help of Yandex.Direct Commander and set them to work.
— Do you have any methods to increase the effectiveness of advertising on Yandex.Direct?
— We work a lot on brand recognition, and a significant share of our key phrases consists of queries with the word “QUELLE”. With such queries we try to get special placement. That way we can be certain that a person who searches for us will definitely find us and not get lost.
In addition, we rely not only on search advertising, but also on thematic advertising. In the Yandex Advertising Network there are many platforms with an audience that interests us, so we devote a lot of attention to working with them. Our materials are carefully divided up: certain texts we use only in search results, while others are just for thematic sites.
Also, in all our campaigns, ads are shown by other keywords and other relevant phrases. The list of keywords automatically expands to include successful combinations that we didn’t think of at first.
— What advice can you give those who are just preparing to enter the Russian market?
— A simple piece of advice: why go in circles when you can go straight to your target – through Yandex.Direct. At any moment you can add new settings and reorient your budget, if campaign goals change. This is especially important at first, when you’re experimenting with distributing your budget in different channels.
Besides that, investments in Yandex.Direct are quickly recouped. In our case, in just a year after releasing our first ad campaign, the share of orders placed through the internet grew to almost 50 percent.
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