Email marketing in action: Lessons from OFFICE Shoes

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OFFICE Shoes' Scott Taylor tells MyCustomer.com about how the retailer negotiated its recent email marketing programme, from vendor selection to execution.

At a time when high street retailers such as Comet, HMV and Republic are going to the wall, intelligent marketing is vital for survival. Whether it’s refining digital, multichannel or mobile strategies, retailers must adapt to the constant change in consumer technologies and their impact on shopping behaviour. One retailer that crucially understood the evolving nature of the high street and began using the proliferation of Big Data to their advantage is shoe chain OFFICE.

“We were collecting all this information about the customer but not really using it or analysing it,” explains Scott Taylor, the firm’s ecommerce retention marketing manager. “We were sending out email campaigns to our entire database simply for the sake of doing so.” OFFICE Shoes’ key objective has long-been to focus on marketing to existing customers to encourage them to buy more but struggled managing the overwhelming data surrounding their customers’ preferences, behaviours and lifecycle stage.

“Even though it was great to send out a generic campaign and make revenue, the issues were how we can develop that further, how can we make email a core marketing channel and build up the revenue mix compared to the other channels,” adds Taylor. “We wanted to know how to aggregate all of our siloed customer data, and then develop emails further to target the right customers in the right way?”

Needing a marketing technology that could be easily integrated into the department without hand-holding from IT, in 2011 OFFICE Shoes turned to digital marketing solution provider Emailvision. Whilst any migration has teething problems, Taylor explains that adopting the technology into the business’ small marketing team was relatively easy, with much support from the vendor.

“Emailvision worked very closely with us in terms of suggesting ways of collecting the data and how it works,” Taylor explains. “There are a number of different levels where we get IT support from them in implementing new strategies, as well as from a marketing perspective.

“There are a number of different levels where we get support from them from IT support to implementing new strategies and some from a marketing perspective. We sit down and look at the roadmap for email, the customer lifecycle and the activity of the customer and see how we can make it better and how we can be strategic, as well as what's working and what's not.”

Following the adoption of Emailvision’s Campaign Commander Customer Intelligence tool, OFFICE Shoes now receives customer data when they sign up to the site, as well as an in-built API that delivers customer information when a purchase is made. OFFICE also has a preference centre, hosted in Emailvision, which builds on customers' basic details to better find out their interests and what they want to be notified about. Understanding demographics, preferences and purchase behaviours the enabled the retailer to properly segment and target customers.

For instance, through analysing customer data the team uncovered the trend that a lot of female shoppers tend to buy men’s products. With this information, OFFICE can then add these customers to certain male-orientated email campaigns, he says.

So how successful have the campaigns been in engaging existing customers? Well, the figures speak for themselves. Since implementing Emailvision’s technology, the brand has experienced a 64% increase in open rates versus non-targeted emails and a 240% increase in click through rates versus non-targeted emails – leading to additional purchases in both cases.

The next stage now is taking that information and applying it to the firm’s in-store strategy, says Taylor. “We've been able to prove from the activity that we've done that we can now move onto greater things.”

Moving forward, OFFICE Shoes is planning to collaborate with Emailvision to further develop its strategy around customer profiling and lifespan.

“We've got a good contact map right now but we're moving to a very sophisticated contact map in terms of whether we should be contacting the customer in the first three months and how we engage with customers. There are lots of opportunities for us to actually target customers more and we’re also looking at things like seasonality, again going to female or male purchases. The actual list is massive, which is very exciting for us. Working with Emailvision to implement these strategies things is ongoing,” Taylor concludes.

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