January 2015

Christian Retailers Enjoyed December Sales Lift

Christmas Retail Tips

Christian Retailers reported a lift in December sales and traffic, according to The Parable Group. Sales stats by the group show a 3% December sales lift over December 2013, and a 19% increase in sales for the week ending December 27 over the same week in 2013.

“Dozens of our retail partners had a strong month, many in the double-digits, and it really lifted the group number up,” says Erik Ernstrom, Manager of Business Intelligence for The Parable Group. “That week before Christmas was stronger than most of us anticipated.”

Retailers reported that the 12 Days of Christmas daily deals promoted in their catalogs, targeted shared mail (Redplum/Valassis), newspaper inserts, promotional in-store signage, email marketing and Facebook campaigns developed by The Parable Group were effective in driving consumer traffic and increasing sales in their stores.

Deidre Pagni from His Word…A Parable Christian Store in Reno and Sparks, Nevada said, “The 12 Days of Christmas Sale that we promoted in Red Plum seemed to have a bigger impact for our Reno store and drove some traffic. Plus, we did a better job preparing our stock levels for the 12 Days of Christmas Sale traffic as well.”

Matthew Wright of Praises Family Books & Gifts in Chillicothe, Ohio said, “December was a great month for us. We really pushed the 12 Days of Christmas sales hard. We sent an email reminder every day of the sale to our entire email list. We used the aggressive coupon option to generate traffic from our catalogs. Plus, we gave each customer a bounce back coupon at the completion of the sale encouraging them to come back in. Our promotional plan through Parable print catalogs, SnapRetail emails and proper staff training provided us with a great December and an end to a good year! Higher traffic made the difference in our sales.”

Gift cards were projected to be the most popular holiday gift option, with 80% of shoppers saying they planned to buy at least one, according to a National Retail Federation survey. They aren’t counted as part of a retailer’s sales, though, until they are redeemed.

“The post-Christmas period is when that starts and that’s a great way to start the new year,” says Ernstrom.

The Parable Group Celebrates 30-Year Milestone

The Parable Christian Store 1980s

The Parable Group opened in fall of 1985, in the back room of a Christian bookstore in downtown San Luis Obispo, California. At the time, The Parable Group had two part-time employees, one of which was Steve Potratz.

Steve and his wife Laurie created a simple flyer for their independent Christian retail store called The Parable. It impressed a fellow store owner so much that he asked Steve to print a few for his customers, and the idea of an independent marketing group was born. On a foundation of catalogs, The Parable Group was the first group of its kind to strategically market on behalf of independent Christian retailers.

The business has endured: The Parable Group is celebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2015.

Today, under Potratz’s leadership, The Parable Group serves 179 independent Christian retailers and 120+ faith-based product and service providers with customized advertising, innovative marketing and digital solutions that reach and engage the Christian consumer on their behalf.

Over those three decades, The Parable Group has employed hundreds of people. Many former employees have graduated to leadership at companies such as Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, David C. Cook, Tyndale House Publishers, B&H, Capitol Christian, Living on the Edge, PureFlix, Gap, Nike and LinkedIn.

Former employee, Cheryl Kerwin, now Senior Marketing Manager at Tyndale House Publishers says, “Throughout my 30+ years in the CBA industry, I have been fortunate enough to work for leaders who not only were good business minds, but had a heart and passion for ministry. Parable taught me how to make sure we had our retailer’s best interest in mind when working with vendors to develop promotions for products that were going to make a difference in the consumers’ lives. Now I am able to better understand what type of products and promotions retailers need in order to minister to the spiritual needs of people and I have Parable to thank for that.”

“God orchestrated the last thirty years,” Potratz says. “He faithfully brought us the right people at the right time to help develop the business and impact millions of lives with the products and services that we’ve marketed for stores and vendors. I’ll continue to trust Him as we continue to deliver life-changing content to the Christian consumer.”

The Parable Group has since sent over 388 million catalogs and 64 million emails to Christian consumers. They’ve also reached and engaged Christian consumers through newspaper inserts, television commercials, radio ads, targeted shared mail, postcards, social media campaigns, online display advertising and pre-roll video ads. Their multi-channel approach to marketing provides retailers and brands with customized solutions to fit their unique needs.

“At the end of the day, The Parable Group is about connecting people to Christ-centered products that change lives,” Potratz says. ”That’s what’s kept me going for the last three decades, and it’s what will drive The Parable Group for the next thirty years.”

The Parable Group plans to commemorate their 30th anniversary in several ways throughout 2015. For starters, in the coming months they will be recognizing retailers who have also been in business for at least 30 years.

The Parable Group is also asking their vendors, retailers and industry partners to share their favorite memories of working together. Send comments to sally.ross@parable.com. Comments will be collected in a vault, with one pulled out each month. Each month’s winner will receive a $30 Visa gift card.

Over Fifteen Million Consumer Emails Sent By Cba Retailers Through Snapretail And The Parable Group

Snap Retail - The Parable Group Blog

The Parable Group announced today that nearly 15.9 million consumer emails were sent in 2014 by independent Christian retailers through SnapRetail—an 11% increase from emails sent in 2013. The Parable Group and SnapRetail partnership, launched in March 2012 to CBA, is a comprehensive email and social-marketing solution for the industry with over 115,000 Christian product images from over 80 Christian publishers, music companies and gift companies.

“It’s exciting to see store owners realizing the potential they have for traffic growth and increased sales using SnapRetail. It’s an easy and effective marketing solution that provides stores an affordable and workable way to engage customers through email marketing and various social media channels,” said Steve Potratz, President of The Parable Group.

Participating stores select ready-to-use email templates including newsletters, special events, new arrivals, sales and holiday emails complete with messaging. Ready-to-send vendor emails are also available. Stores customize, schedule, send and simultaneously post emails to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Email images can also be set for customers to pin to Pinterest.

“In December, nearly 30% of all SnapRetail emails sent by Christian retailers were ready-to-send emails, much to the excitement of our vendor partners whose products were featured in them,” Potratz added.

Erik Ernstrom, Manager of Business Intelligence for The Parable Group says, “Now is the time for Christian Retailers to take advantage of SnapRetail’s easy-to-use email platform, build a strategy to connect to customers, and grow their customer list size in time for Easter.”

126 Independent Christian stores across all marketing groups currently use SnapRetail, including Catholic stores, church stores, Parable partner stores, Munce stores, Covenant stores and other independent Christian stores.