Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
There are few companies that can claim to have doubled their revenue in a year. But for online dress rental service, GlamCorner, that milestone was achieved in the last four months alone, helped along by the Spring Racing carnival and an often-neglected form for digital marketing – email.
GlamCorner founder and CEO, Dean Jones, said email has become one of the company’s most profitable channels.
“If you deliver a curated piece of content to someone at the right time they are more than likely to open it and come look,” he said. “It adds a lot of value that other channels can’t do, in a very non-imposing but very personalised way, to deliver information to people that’s useful to them.”
GlamCorner was founded four years ago with a mission to take the stress out of preparing for major events such as balls and other formal events. Over time, the use cases for the service have expanded to include corporate functions, engagement parties and horseracing events.
Today, the company is shipping 4000 dresses each month and generating revenue that Jones said is well into the millions of dollars per annum, with the 2016 racing season coming in at five times the size of last year in terms of turnover and order volumes.
While the company invests in search engine optimisation to attract new clients, Jones said last year it began getting more serious about its email marketing activities to active and inactive clients. To do this, the company migrated its email system over to Campaign Monitor.
“We wanted to add a degree of depth to our email strategy, which included things like automated workflows, personalised content, and unique crafting of particular segments,” Jones said. “So you are not just blasting people with emails all the time, you are sending them notifications when relevant.
“Sometimes the old ways are the best, and a channel like email for us is circa 10 per cent of our revenue now. And it’s grown with us – the ratio of revenue that has come in from email has stayed the same.”
Part of the attraction was the ability to set up automated workflows that kick in when a customer has rented a dress for the first time.
“Is an opportunity over the course of the first weeks to introduce them to the other elements of our service that they might not have discovered in their very quick procedure to the checkout the first time they arrived on our site,” Jones said. “And that helps with retention, and keeping people interested and involved in our product.”
Critical to the success of GlamCorner’s email strategy has been having some interesting to say. Jones and his team have worked to evolve the company’s product to ensure it always has something new to communicate.
“Once you have laid that groundwork, we found that email was an excellent way to reintroduce deactivated customers, or ones who haven’t come back for a while, or to keep customers who have discovered us recently,” he said. “There is a lot of noise out there and there are a lot of good deals, how do you maintain the relationship with customers? Email is a huge part of that.”
Jones said the company is now investigating how it can make better use of the data it collects from its customers to create new products and more targeted communication.
“Getting smart with data doesn’t mean you have to be launching rockets,” he said. “Sometimes it just means being sensible with the huge amounts of data you’ve already got about your customers. It might be a certain type of event you know they are interested in, it might be their age, or they might live in a regional area. The key is to get the basics right in terms of data first.”