For many businesses, heritage and background are what make them a firm favorite in consumers’ hearts. Legacy builds the foundations for brand identity, personality and trust; these qualities are fundamental for retailers in a crowded market. Today, brands need to resonate emotionally with their customers to remain competitive, meaning heritage is a powerful advantage.
For traditional offline retailers such as Grenson, the surge in ecommerce has brought with it a need to establish an online presence that marries perfectly to the in-store customer experience; personalized and relevant communication is key. This is particularly important for brands who are keen to strike the right balance between broadening their email reach and upholding their brand values.
Email marketing automation is the go-to tactic to achieve 1:1 communication between brands and customers, however retailers still aren’t embracing it en masse. According to this year’s Hitting the Mark benchmark report, around 60% of retailers are missing out on the lucrative revenue opportunities that are the bread and butter of email marketing automation.
It’s easy to see why heritage retailers may shy away from increased email frequency, however email marketing shouldn’t be categorised into an aggressive sales tactic. One brand that realized this and has used automation to enhance its customer experience is Grenson.
Grenson prides itself in the quality of its shoemaking through astute attention to detail; since 1866 the brand has respected best-of-breed techniques and processes which have ultimately earnt the brand its heritage status. Grenson’s reputation as a champion shoemaker is the overriding message that needs to be relayed through every online channel, with email marketing at the forefront. Therefore, rather than undermine the value of the brand through a sales-heavy tactic, Grenson’s email marketing strategy focuses 100% on brand quality, craftsmanship and customer care.
The road towards customer-first post-purchase automation
Grenson’s objective was to adopt email marketing automation without compromising its well-respected heritage status; this encouraged a conversation with the dotmailer team to talk through the options available to complement its communication strategy.
Having traditionally focused on newsletters, Grenson recognized the benefits of sending triggered messaging off the back of customer behaviors (i.e. an online purchase). According to Epsilon*, the standard ‘batch and blast mentality doesn’t help with relevance’, as it damages long-term engagement and runs the risk of churn. eMarketer* argues that data-driven automation is increasingly being adopted by brands as a consequence.
The RFM model (recency, frequency, monetary) is widely embraced by ecommerce retailers. This segmentation method allows brands to pool customers together based on their purchase behavior and spend, providing the perfect conditions for highly targeted email automation. What’s more, segmenting on this basis helps maximize the relevancy of the message which incentivizes the engagement of recipients. Examples include: ‘thank you for your purchase’, or ‘you’re an all-star customer!’.
In adopting the RFM methodology, it’s important to have the right technology set-up. Grenson takes advantage of the dotmailer and Magento integration; with the syncing of order data, the team can easily segment customers based on recent purchases (excluding in-progress orders and cancellations), and subsequently target the right people with a timely and relevant post-purchase email. With Grenson’s email and ecommerce platform talking to each other, the foundations were in place for its ecommerce team to explore email automation in depth.
Collaborative implementation was the best option for Grenson to kickstart its automation journey. The team initially scoped the project with their dotmailer Account Manager and Digital Program Manager (DPM), during which the data framework, program structure, and campaign body were outlined. Upon completion of the scope the automation was built during a collaborative, face-to-face session, and then quality-tested and activated by dotmailer.
The value of the collaborative session for Grenson was twofold: being trained on how to build an automation program (i.e. understand the logic to build more in the future), and the deliverable of a tried-and-tested automation program, built by experts.
Throughout the project, the Account Manager and DPM provided strategic advice to the Grenson team on how to get the post-purchase approach just right. To avoid giving the impression of upselling, the method had to be soft, product-focused and with the spotlight on brand legacy.
Ashley Hubbard, eCommerce Manager at Grenson:
The automation workshop with dotmailer was a great process … it enabled us to talk to the team about our brand and customer experience desires. The team made sure that they knew our goals and key metrics on this task. At the end of our session, we had a clear plan for implementation.
Sending a ‘thank you’ email after an online purchase is best practice and should emulate the customer service that is experienced in store. Customers also expect this to be the norm, and unsurprisingly are highly likely to engage with post-purchase emails. For instance, Grenson enjoyed an average open rate of 70% from this email program.
Within the campaign body itself, the customer is invited to learn more about how to look after their new shoes. This brings the focus back to the product itself, rather than pushing for another sale. This customer-care approach drives brand value and loyalty, both important objectives for Grenson.
Being able to build on informative brand stories rather than direct sales messages from an early stage in the customer relationship has been fantastic.
The email’s call-to-action draws the customer to a dotmailer survey to provide feedback on the shopping experience; the results have been great so far, with the response-to-click rate totalling 60%. This is an important aspect of the post-purchase journey for Grenson, as it provides valuable insight into customer satisfaction which can be used to further optimize the UX and service offering.
The focus for Grenson moving forward is to drive more personalized communications, with the aim of bringing the offline experience online. Data enrichment will play a key part in its email marketing strategy.
Having already implemented a welcome program, Grenson has incorporated a preference center to collect subscribers’ shoe sizes. Moving forward the team plans to use this data to segment and target customers – for example, a relevant and well-timed ‘your shoe size is now in stock!’ email can boost conversions significantly.
For more automation inspiration, visit our Customer Success portal or speak to your dotmailer Account Manager.
*Email Marketing Benchmarks 2016: Relevancy, Frequency, Deliverability and Mobility. Jillian Ryan, eMarketer | September 6, 2016. Contributors: Lauren Fisher, Corey McNair.