What this Aussie retailer is doing to realise scale through personalisation

Eco.Modern Essentials CEO shares how its working to scale up its direct-to-consumer business and improve customer lifetime value

Realising customer lifetime value and personalising digital engagement to accelerate growth is one step closer to reality for Australian wellness brand, Eco.Modern Essentials, as it deploys a new marketing platform.

The Gold Coast-based business, which was founded in 2009 and initially focused on supplying health stores and pharmacies, has spent the past five years building out its direct-to-consumer business in Australia and the US. Eco.Modern Essentials CEO and director, Claire Mitchell, told CMO selling directly to consumers gave it a significant lift in terms of growth and customer retention.

What’s more, having launched a Facebook group two years ago, Mitchell said her team has been gleaning a wealth of insight on user experience and delivery, while also building an important two-way engagement mechanism with consumers.

“These conversations and insights have been the basis for product development and what we work on, and see customers telling each other about our brand, helping each other, and endorsing us. It makes us better and off that, we started scaling very quickly,” she said.  

But as a business, Eco.Modern Essentials was lacking the internal capability to capitalise on the consumer insights or purchasing behaviour at scale. To help, the retailer has brought on Emarsys’ marketing platform as a means of forecasting and predicting revenue and scale one-to-one personalisation across all channels and devices to increase engagement, retention and loyalty. 

Mitchell said she’d first been exposed to Emarsys at a conference a couple of years ago after hearing several clients talking about why and how they’d adopted the platform.

“We knew we wanted to be one of them. We got to a place and knew this was the right platform based on what we saw in the market and our conversations with other CMOs and COOs about their deployments,” she said.  

In addition, over the last 18 months, Eco.Modern Essentials has been working hard on building customer journeys to better inform how it talks to customers. But again, it had been reliant on an outsourced agency for expertise in executing off these flows.

“As we grow, we wanted to be doing this directly and building these skills internally,” Mitchell said. “The plan has been to disengage the agency, invest in the software and built people capability. The technology and AI [artificial intelligence] is very exciting and helps us with scale; and we’re growing so fast, we needed more than just clever humans.” 

Tech and people smarts

Eco.Modern essentials began implementing the Emarsys platform in March, which will in time replace its existing Klaviyo email marketing platform. Mitchell said it will migrate the learnings and customer journey flows built in the current system to the new platform.

“But we don’t want to just do what we did before – we want to use the smarts and best practices offered through the platform to improve these flows,” she said.  

The first focus is on retention and customer lifetime value. “We want to be more specific to their needs. We know these are distinct depending on if they have a family, kids, are more environmentally conscious, are experienced in blending their own oils and want DIY kits versus us to pre-blend,” Mitchell explained.

“We listen and have built a wonderful following, and it’s those customers that help us with new customer acquisition.”  

The first campaign launches next week and will see the retailer splitting its database to test the new platform. Two people internally have been building out customer flows using existing flows plus Emarsys’ best practice tools. Mitchell said the team is also making sure older content of more than six months is replaced by fresh assets to reflect its expanding product range.

Mitchell said it’s clear distinct personas can be harnessing to engage better with customers. For example, Eco.Modern Essentials can already see these segments through sales of pre-built kits or products aimed at boosting immunity, or customers who are more experienced in understanding and working with essential oils.

“This [platform] gives us the intelligence to dig deeper,” she continued. “And we’ll learn more by observing customers then understanding the way they purchase.

“We want to communicate based on these types of personas. We know they are there, but by having the platform, we gain the ability to do a lot more personalisation. It will take time to ingest all the data, and AI will learn by behaviour and activity. But we’re at a stage in terms of volume of data and customers where we’re big enough to see an impact from having this software.”

For Mitchell, the first milestone is having the team using the platform for customer journeys and communication. Where she wants to end up is a clear and complete picture of lifetime value of the customer and articulation of the impact of retention.

“I’m looking forward to things like the system knowing when is the best time to send an email to an individual’s inbox, if they prefer mobile versus desktop, and use their history to personalise,” she said. “At the moment, we are like spaghetti. We need to see the whole picture across all touchpoints. To scale any further, it’s crucial we have one source of truth.”  

Simultaneously, the company is about to start another project bringing on an inventory and warehouse management solution, with expectations of going live by 1 July. Mitchell saw this further transforming the business in Australia and the US.

While the first port of call is email, giving it’s Eco.Modern Essential’s primary method of communication, Mitchell hoped to swiftly extend personalisation smarts to onsite marketing, then bring social platforms like Instagram into the mix. This will help to know what products to call out, if there’s a need more for education over gifting ideas, and so on.

Mitchell also saw tech smarts helping crystallise the brand’s distinct tone of voice in the US versus Australian markets.

“This allows us to test, and go out to customers with that different voice. Australia, for example, is softer and there’s more browsing, while the US is more aggressive. We have changed our voice, but we’re only going so far,” she added. “These tools will further look into the data and act.”  

Check out other brands pushing towards personalisation:

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.

 

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