Press Release

Look for Your Monthly Data Statements

Look for Your Monthly Data Statements

Erik Ernstrom

If you’re one of the hundreds of stores transferring your data into CROSS:SCAN, the industry’s free data service, you received a Data Statement from us in your inbox last week. These monthly reports are designed to give you some encouragement (number of people you’ve served, how many Bibles you’ve sold, etc.), plus a few quick “to-do’s.”

As an example, one store might see that their employees are doing a great job adding new customers to their mailing list. This report would enable them to praise their staff for their hard work. However, this same store could also see room for improvement because less than 10% of those new customers supplied an email address. What a great teaching moment: “You’re doing a fantastic job increasing the size of our mailing list. This will enable us to stay in contact with all these customers with future mailings. However, we also need to be capturing their email addresses, so we can communicate with them more often than just once a month. And some people prefer emails. So, considering it’s the easiest time to get this information, let’s make sure to ask for their email address when adding them to the mailing list.”

Meanwhile, another store might take the list of top customers from the last 10 weeks and drop a note in the mail thanking them for supporting their store. I know of one store who makes it a point to call as many of these customers as they can to thank them and ask if there’s anything their staff can pray for. That’s something a big box won’t do!

Each one of you will probably take something different from these reports, including clicking through to ParableConnect to dive even deeper. We’d love to hear from you about how these reports are helping you, and how we might be able to serve you even better.

And as a reminder, there are three different reports that we send on a rolling three-month schedule: one focused on Marketing, one on Merchandising, and one for Operations. We rotate them, so you can learn about different aspects of your business each month. We know there’s a lot to do on a daily basis in your store, and we hope these reports and ParableConnect are giving you the tools you need to accomplish some of those things more easily.

If you need another copy of your report, or would like add additional employees to our distribution list, please contact me.


400 Stores Now Using The Parable Group Services

Serving independent retailers nationwide, The Parable Group, the leading data-driven marketing agency for the Christian products industry, recently reached 400 store-fronts participating in a variety of their tools, programs and services.

“We’re honored to serve a diverse group of retailers with personalized solutions—helping them boost traffic, increase turns, grow profits, and expand their local ministries,” said Erik Ernstrom, Manager of Business Intelligence for The Parable Group. “We’re called to use our gifts, talents and time to advance His kingdom and we all win when we link arms to propel this incredible industry forward.”

To celebrate the milestone, The Parable Group is hosting a store meeting on Sunday, July 8th during UNITE 2018 which is open to every store they serve, whether enrolled in data programs, print marketing, email solutions, Get It Local Today or more. The store meeting, hosted by four industry leaders with over 125 years of collective Christian retailing experience, will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center and is centered on traffic-driving services, training on the powerful ParableConnect 24/7 data hub, retailer-focused education, and fellowship.

Currently serving Covenant, Munce, Logos and Parable stores, church stores, Catholic stores, and unaffiliated stores across the US and Canada, The Parable Group aims to help all those in Christian retail thrive.

Christian Retailers Enjoy A Successful Season

The Parable Group, a leading marketing agency for the Christian product industry, announced today that Christmas sales were up for the Christian retailers they serve with print/digital promotions. Collectively, November and December sales were up 0.9%. A key piece of that increase was Thanksgiving week—when sales groupwide increased 3.2%—with 68% of their partner stores seeing greater sales than 2016.

“Over the past few years new and emerging technology has transformed the way customers shop. But many savvy Christian retailers, committed to serving their local communities, are investing in themselves—in products, stores, marketing, data and technology. These Christmas sales numbers are very encouraging—there’s real hope and a future for Christian retail,” said Steve Potratz, President of The Parable Group.

To attract new customers and re-engage existing customers over the Christmas 2017 season, The Parable Group of Christian retailers used coordinated print catalogs and in-store signage as a promotional foundation and layered in various digital marketing tactics, like email and social media advertising.

Over 6 million emails were sent to customers from The Parable Group on behalf of retailers during November/December, representing a mix of mass weekly emails and highly targeted emails based on customer purchase history. Additionally, various Facebook campaigns reached nearly 950,000 people in November/ December on behalf of participating stores. These social media campaigns served over 3.7 million impressions to geo-targeted Christian consumer audiences.

Christian retailers also utilized tools on ParableConnect, the 24/7 information hub, to ensure they stayed in-stock of promoted products.

“We’re happy to see positive numbers and sales increases again. While not every Christian retailer has turned around, this suggests that more gains can be achieved. Retailers who can adjust and incorporate print and digital marketing touchpoints, backed by data, are likely going to be successful in 2018,” said Potratz.

Christian Retailers Embrace The Power Of Data

With retail data analytics emerging as a key tool to boost business and profits, Christian retailers widely embraced the technology in 2017. The Parable Group, a leading marketing agency and CBA’s exclusive data collection partner, announced that an astounding 80% of the 367 stores they serve participate in data.

The Parable Group now collects and monitors retail sales information from 290 Christian retailers (including Covenant, Munce, Logos and Parable stores), church stores, Catholic stores, and unaffiliated stores across the US and Canada.

“It’s an exciting time for Christian retailers—technology and retail data analytics initiatives are generating real value that translates into increased customer loyalty, a better customer experience and higher revenue,” said Erik Ernstrom, Manager of Business Intelligence for The Parable Group.

The Parable Group data service is designed to meet retailers’ specific competitive data needs. Some participating retailers view data analytics, graphs and reports on ParableConnect daily—to monitor sales by category, identify trends, better target customers, improve stock-turn and stock management, and increase profit. Other participating retailers, just starting out on their data journey, utilize the free Cross:Scan bestsellers lists to improve inventory.

“We’re encouraged to see the number of stores participating in data programs continue to increase—everything from Get It Local Today, to Cross:Scan, to wanting help with their catalog mailings. As our industry continues to come together, we can only get stronger,” said Ernstrom.

For additional information, please contact:
Erik Ernstrom
(805) 329-4005


HarperCollins Christian Gives Independent Christian Retailers A Big Boost

To support the successful health and growth of independent brick-and-mortar retailers in the Christian industry, HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) and The Parable Group have deepened their relationship in recent months giving retailers an added boost.

Randy Ross, Sales and Marketing Specialist for The Parable Group said, “In the aftermath of Family Christian Stores closures, we’re delighted to see several publishers extending additional support and fresh collaborative ideas to help independent Christian retailers thrive. HarperCollins Christian, in particular, is stepping up in unprecedented ways.”

Not only is HarperCollins Christian Publishing supporting nearly 90% of The Parable Group Summer Catalog which celebrates “independents” and shopping local, HCCP also provided postage for stores to mail deeper into their customer list. All participating stores increased their catalog distribution, and 10 stores added the summer promotion due to HCCP’s generosity.

“Summer is typically a slower time for retail, but this summer promotion should reinvigorate sales and traffic with tremendous savings on bestselling Thomas Nelson and Zondervan titles,” said Ross.

Additionally, HarperCollins Christian funded a graduation postcard program to drive church traffic to Christian retail this year. The Parable Group sent over 8,000 postcards to churches and schools on behalf of participating retailers—HCCP covered the printing, postage and bulk buy offer on select grad titles.

“Christian retail is the backbone of our industry,” said Dan VanGorp, Director of Independent Retail for HarperCollins Christian Publishers. “Retailers work hard every day to balance the ministry and business aspects of their stores. We consider it a great privilege to come alongside these retailers, who are committed to growing the Kingdom of God, through the resources that we’re able to provide. We don’t take that relationship for granted.”

To view the digital version of The Parable Group Summer Catalog, click here.