Jo Petit-Hoang, Director of CRM, describes how Adore Me is perfecting relationships, step by step
– [Jo] Good afternoon, everybody. I’m Jo, and I work with Optimove…Adore Me, sorry, which is a New York-based lingerie company. And I’ve been in the U.S. for five years, and I am head of the CRM team.
– [Hadas] Originally from France?
– Can you share with us a little bit about the story of Adore Me?
– Yes. So, this is what we sell, bras, sleepwear, lingerie, corset, bustier, swimwear, active wear. The company was started five years ago by a French man named Morgan Hermand-Waiche. And five years ago, Morgan was studying at Harvard, he was doing an MBA over there. And he had a girlfriend over there, and for her birthday, he had the idea of offering her some lingerie. So, he’s a French man, so he thought it was a good idea. So, he went around in Boston to some store to find some nice lingerie for her, and he couldn’t find anything in his budget, like he thought everything was like too expensive for what it was. So, he thought like if you had an issue finding lingerie, just like for one gift, like a lot of women will expand the same issue like every day or very often. So, he started digging the lingerie industry and he realized it was an industry worth $24 billion in the U.S., and it’s mainly monopolized by Victoria’s Secret that is very slow fashion, only like three and four collections per year, and the marketing is very targeted to skinny city girls, so it’s very exclusive. So, he thought he could do something better, and so, Adore Me was started. He created a brand that is very inclusive, so we offer lingerie for everybody, from 32+. Fast fashion, we have one collection every month and affordable.
– And you want to talk a little bit about the revenue of the company, the way it’s grown?
– Yeah. So, it was like, started five years ago and last year we made $84 million dollars of revenue, and we’re still growing the same pace.
– Amazing. So, Jo, what were the main challenges that Adore Me was facing which actually brought you to look for a marketing platform to begin with?
– Yeah. So, in the early years of Adore Me, the whole marketing was focused on acquisition. So, we were very good at delivering great product, and then the goal was growing the business. And growing the business was like acquiring a lot of new customers. And after a few years, we saw that the revenue was shifting from new customers to existing customers as we were like piling up customers.
– Because they were making more returning purchases?
– Exactly. So, they were like…we were converting them and then they were staying and they’re sticking around, so more and more revenue were coming from existing customers. And at the time, we were not very good at engaging the existing customer, so we were looking for a new solution for that. And more specifically, we were looking for a solution that helped us do more personalization, more automation, and multi-channel.
– Cool. And why did you choose Optimove as your marketing platform?
– So at Adore Me, we really like data, and this is one of the reason why we grow so fast, because we’re really digging through the data, like every day, with everything we do. And so, we were looking for a software that is very big on data. And so, we talked to a lot of companies and we picked Optimove for a few reasons. And two main ones are, it’s very easy to build target groups and to be, you know, in three clicks, you can build target groups that are very, very targeted. It’s very big on data, so it’s very easy to find answers in the data after running campaigns. And because of that, it’s very easy to take decisions quickly. And because we’re a start-up, we like to reiterate quickly.
– And it also answered the request for automation and multi-channel functionalities…
– …if you already mentioned. Okay. So, before Optimove, what did your marketing strategy look like? So how were you communicating with your customers, what types of campaigns were you sending, what channels of executions were you using?
– So, before Optimove, the CRM was very, very basic. So, we were like accruing a lot of new customers, and we had like two customer segments. We had registered-only users and the customers.
– Paying customers?
– Yeah, it’s the paying customers. And we only used emails. So, we had every day, two campaigns going out, one for the customers, one for the registered new users. And it was, like, everybody was getting the same thing. Like, it was like one-size-fits-all strategy. And was very manual, at the time, it was only me in the team.
– I don’t know if you want to bring it back, I think we lost a little bit of attention, you know? Okay. All right.
– Yeah. So it was very like one-size-fits-all strategy, very manual. I was the only one in the team, I was doing everything from the planning, to the brief, to the design, to the scheduling, to the analysis, and it was taking my whole time. So, it was not very efficient, and we could not test anything, so it was like it was repeating the same thing over and over.
– So, kind of putting out fires just to get those campaigns out every day and not even really even having a lot of time to strategize, right, about what type of campaigns, what type of personalization…
– Correct. My whole time was taken just executing campaigns.
– All right. And how did you achieve the migration from batch and blast to a more personalized approach to marketing once you did start with working with Optimove?
– Yeah. So, when we started working with Optimove, we did a transition in steps, in different phases. First of all, we just replicated what we were doing before, we did the same thing in Optimove because we didn’t want to change everything overnight because, I mean, it was very basic. But it was still bringing a good share of the revenue to the company, so we didn’t want to put those revenue at risk. So, we just replicated the campaign within Optimove and automated them. So that saved me time, and from there, I started building on top of that. So, I took on a campaign for the existing customers and I broke it down by lifecycle stage. So, I’d have a different campaign for the new customers, I have a different campaign for the active customers, and a different campaign for the churn customers. So that was the first step. And then, on top of that, I started building more targeted campaigns that are based on lifecycle events. For example, when you place your first order, you will receive an onboarding program with different messages. One of them can be, we know that customers with the app are better customers, so when you place your first order, we want you to download the app so that we can engage you better. Another example is, we have a showroom in our office in New York City, so if you live in the area, if you live in New York, we send you an invitation for you to come to the showroom to try a new product.
– Yeah, I’ve been there, it’s worth going if you’re there. They used to have it for mainly VIP, so it was really hard to get into, but now, I think it’s open to everyone, right?
– Yeah, it’s open to everyone. You can set an appointment and be fitted by our designers.
– They have chocolates, too, so. You wear lingerie, you eat chocolates, I mean, can’t get much better, right? Right. How are you communicating with your customers today?
– So today, we have like approximately 70 campaigns running per week. We have four channels, which are emails, SMS, mobile push, and re-targeting on Facebook that we control from Optimove. And everything is automated. So, the way it works is, user like in a given day, you’re targeted by one of the very specific and targeted campaigns and you get that one. And if on a given day, you’re not targeted by one of those campaigns, you will fall back into the daily newsletter, so that we make sure that, like, every day, if you want to get emails every day or messages every day, you get something.
– Right. So, you’re not losing out on that revenue which you’re accustomed to seeing from those newsletters but you’re personalizing your campaigns. Now, you’ve seen that the personalization is really bringing back the revenue that you were losing from your more kind of newsletter catch-all campaigns?
– Exactly. We think that burst notice campaigns are like much better for the experience of the customer, so we prioritized higher those campaigns.
– And we also like…something that’s very important that with Optimove, we can do many more tests, so we test everything. Sometimes, we test models, that happens, but with Optimove, we can test like target groups, offers, channels in-between them, so it’s very, very powerful.
– So, you brought up channels when you’re talking about multi-channel campaigns. Are most of your channel campaigns, for example, one campaign that’s sent via multiple channels, or do you kind of distribute your campaigns between the different channels, each channel for one campaign?
– Yeah. So, for us, I mean, at Adore Me, we like to keep things separated for us so that we can measure better. So, each campaign is one channel only so that we can like see the impact of all of the messages.
– And at the beginning of the session, you said that before you started using Optimove, you were mainly focused on acquisitions. And now that you’re able to migrate your efforts to retentions, reactivation, and, of course, conversion for your registered-only, what are the main challenges that Adore Me is facing today after making that migration?
– Yeah. Right. So we are acquiring a lot of customers every day. And the main challenge we have is to, okay, those guys placed one order, so now, how do we make them stick around for a longer time, how do we make them place the second order?
– So those are the one-timers that most of e-commerce marketers are dealing with here, right? How do we make them…
– Yeah, exactly.
– …into repeating customers?
– Yes. A lot of e-commerce players face the same challenge and it’s really like the $1 billion question here. So, we think about it like every day, and yeah, that’s the main issue we have.
– So what strategy are you taking to overcome these hurdles, that hurdle?
– So right now, the lingerie market is very competitive and it’s becoming increasingly competitive. We see that a big player such as Walmart and Amazon are entering the market. And those players are really, they started the war on price. And like it’s impossible to compete on price with those guys, so we need to be better, we need to differentiate on other aspects. So, we do it in two ways. So, first one is branding. And the second one is having a better conversation with the customers. So, for branding, we try to differentiate with different values. So, at Adore Me, I mentioned it a little bit earlier, but we are like much more inclusive. So, we have lingerie for everybody from 32+. And we communicate our values to our customer through like communication, like emails and push, especially when new users are joining, or new customers are placing the first order. And so, we send them like communications about who we are, what are our values, how we create lingerie, where we come from, and everything.
– So, you’re educating them about the brand and just about the products?
– Exactly. So, we tell them our story, that’s the first thing. And the second thing is how to start, how to have a good conversation with the customers. And we do that also by having some very targeted target groups, and sending very relevant communications. One thing we do, for example, is, we have our head of design, Helen Mears, she’s very known in the industry and we have her write emails as if she was running the email directly to the customers. Everything is automated, but it’s only like text-only emails.
– No pictures, no selling, nothing?
– No pictures and signed by her and it adds a very nice touch to the communication we have.
– So looking forward, how do you see yourself utilizing more advanced technologies or functionalities to maximize that personalization that you keep talking about?
– So right now, our two main topics, our first is frequency. So, what is the right communication frequency, like how many emails do you want per week, how many push notification do you want per week, would you rather receive SMS or push notifications? Some people want to receive everything, some people want to receive only one message per week.
– That’s interesting. So, you’re not only personalizing the messages to your customers, you’re also personalizing the engagement or the type of channel that they’re engaging with?
– Yes. So, it’s a lot of iteration and test. So, we like look at the engagement data, we look at how many emails everybody opens, and then, from there, we like set frequencies, do AB tests, see like what is impact on traffic, what is impact on revenues, and we iterate from there. So, this is the first big topic, frequencies. Second big topic is real-time messaging. So right now, we’re setting up the real-time product of Optimove and I think it’s going to be big because right now, all of our…
– Maybe we’ll just stop for a second. And the real-time functionality, if you want to just give like a short explanation of what you’re doing.
– Yes. The way our site is set up is that our Optimove site is updated daily, so you have to wait, it’s a daily thing to send campaigns. But now, we want to be able to send communications in real time, meaning like…
– Based on activity.
– Based on activity, meaning like you visit that page and you click on that button, and boom, you get an email like 10 seconds later or you place an order and you can send the invoice email via Optimove. So right now, all of those real-time communication and transactions are sent via a third party that is not Optimove. And the thing is, it’s just like sent there but we have no way of testing or having some good report.
– Tracking. So, it’s like we cannot really optimize it. And I think it’s really important to optimize it because we have like maybe the top 10 real-time email we send, they bring almost as much revenue as a newsletter program that we spend like a lot of time building. So, I think if we can just optimize those real-time email, it’s going to be big. And so, in Optimove, I think we’ll be able to…we’ll be able to A/B test those emails, A/B test, so improve and measure everything we do, and I think it’s going to bring a lot of impact.
– Awesome. Thank you for listening in.