Avoca and the Digital Strategy

Our New Product Development project proposed two new ideas for Avoca one of which was an integrated print, e-zine magalogue which would at a later stage in its development incorporate an app making it easier again for customers and prospective customers to enhance their experience and interaction with Avoca and indeed drive the online sales opportunity. 

However it will be interesting to measure up Avoca Handweavers and put it through the SOSTAC Model

SITUATION: Where was and is Avoca in terms of its digital strategy and before we concluded on our “magalogue” idea? Certainly Avoca have an impressive website with an ecommerce capability. You can also find Avoca on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and Pinterest. So someone in Avoca is certainly au fait with whats happening in the digital world and is engaging knowledgeably with this online scene. However while Avoca have a newsletter it is a one pager or effectively an online equivalent of a leaflet that might be dropped in your front door and which more often than not we all in turn drop straight in the bin. So the effectiveness of its newsletter or e-leaflet is so limited and certainly not going anywhere near exploring and tapping into all the opportunity that exists out there for Avoca. 

OBJECTIVE: All or most of the typical marketing boxes are on the surface being ticked but the salesman in me immediately identifies an opportunity that is being missed to have a far more concerted sales strategy as well as a marketing communications one online. While the website is impressive and the e-shop is there more can be done in terms of a proactive sales strategy to prolong the customer experience and drive them to the e-commerce facility. There is an opportunity that must be explored to generate new business amongst potential customers outside the traditional catchment areas of the Avoca stores and these customers can engage and shop given the right marketing and sales strategy.

STRATEGY: Developing the e-leaflet, as I condescendingly call it, into a fully fledged e-zine in the form of a 50 page “magalogue” (hybrid magazine/catalogue) will not only give Avoca the most impressive print/online experience to offer its customers in comparison to the drab e-leaflets being circulated by Kilkenny, Blarney Woollen Mills and other competitors, but it will potentially drive Avoca online sales to a new and prosperous level. An app being developed at a later stage would provide a more fully integrated marketing sales and communications solution encompassing print, online magalogue and the app making it more convenient again for customers who are becoming increasingly mobile to access and interact with the Avoca digital space, wherever they are.

TACTICS: The magalogue, as it is a hybrid magazine./catalogue, will carry sufficient and appealing editorial to appeal to t he Avoca customer. The e-zine version will be free to those that sign up for it while the print version can be picked up in the different shops or posted out on request. It could also be distributed to key locations like waiting rooms in different establishments frequented by target customers in the ABC1 range nationwide. As the budget may be limited and the costs of producing a magazine may be prohibitive its thought that pushing the online version, the ezine, which has lower ongoing costs  than the printed version is the route to persue. The printed version will be limited to the shops and kept in availibility so long as there is a reasonable demand for it after which it will be replaced by the digital version.

ACTION: This is a project that falls within the domain of the marketing department but  they will have have to think with a sales hat on going forward. A more concerted and proactive strategy needs to be implemented that will drive new sales in new territory and this will be done with a new sales energy and drive. 

CONTROL: How the resulting performance will be measured will be key to its successful delivery and daily auditing of online impressions, click through rates, sales and from what regions will be key point indicators on the success of the magalogue concept.Image

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3 thoughts on “Avoca and the Digital Strategy”

  1. George,

    Like the SOSTAC® analysis of your project assignment.

    Interesting to note that the Company have an effective web and e-commerce presence, and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest which is more than many companies. So many companies just don’t get it – though I must admit until I commenced the course, I would not have been “sold” on Twitter (that was for young’uns) and never considered LinkedIn as a possible source of business revenue….how a short period on Twitter has changed my view on that score (Naoimh has a lot to answer for on that score), and with regard to LinkedIn, I now realise it’s not just about personal branding, the business can be branded through this resource as well.

    The idea of developing a 50 page “e-zine magalogue” as presented by the group would be an impressive future extension of their digital strategy, and if it designed carefully with relevant content it would / could be targeted and be better than what you have described as the drab leaflets being circulated – most (printed) leaflets which come through my door are quickly consigned to the recycle bin – unread in many cases. Whereas e-leaflets / newsletters / communications I willingly subscribe to will be read by me on-line….targeted audience.

    I am not very familiar with Apps (yet), but I see the opportunity presented here given the increasing need for consumers (of all ages) to have a convenient and easily accessible mobile option.

    On the “hard copy” version of the catalogue, is there a significant cost involved? I note that you suggest that the printed version would be limited to their shops and eventually be replaced by the digital version. I notice that in addition to comprehensive website offerings by say Lidl, they include a weekly magazine / catalogue in selected “Sunday” newspapers detailing their “specials” each week, is there an opportunity for your company to consider a similar strategy although targeted at specific geographical locations around their shops in Wicklow, Dublin, Galway, Kerry and Belfast. After all sometimes the “Sunday drive” we are all familiar with, could venture to one of the stores if there was something of interest and the outlet was say within an hour’s spin of home!

    Déaglán de P

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  2. Great Blog!….Presume you have looked at the Aldi and Lidl weekly ezines?… Lidl’s has gone all fancy recently (since my friend joined graphic design Dept lol). Best of luck with exams…

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  3. Who’d have thought that an upmarket operation like Avoca could have adopted their model to such widely varied sites as Kilmacanogue, Ashford, Malahide Castle and Rathcoole? Yet each of them attracts customers in their droves. Definitely a difficult business to be asked to develop an area of innovation.
    The idea of an e-leaflet appeals and should continue to differentiate them from their competition. This will also add a key value proposition to the business..
    Given that their physical locations are thinly spread, this innovation will undoubtedly appeal to their customer base.

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