How SMS and a 360-degree customer view are helping Vinomofo retain customers

Australian online wine retailer cites 5x increase in re-engaged customers and a 120x return on investment after overhauling its marketing technology stack and bringing on push messaging

Mariano Favia of Vinomofo
Mariano Favia of Vinomofo

Vinomofo has seen a five-fold increase in re-engaged customers and chalked up record-high customer satisfaction scores off the back of efforts to integrate channel communications and create a 360-degree customer view.

The online wine retailer was founded in Australia in 2011 and works to the goal of delivering ‘100 per cent happiness’ to consumers. Today, the business operates in Australia and Singapore and differentiates through a combination of curated wine selections, special deals and a refund policy if you don’t like the wine you pick.

Up until 18 months ago, the marketing team had been using multiple tools to manage data and communications for cross-channel activities. There was also a heavy reliance on email marketing as a sales and communication vehicle.

The decision was made to try and streamline process and tools in order to create a 360-degree customer view, thereby improving personalisation and customer engagement capabilities. For Vinomofo head of marketing, Mariano Favia, the definition of a 360-degree customer view is one of controlling the customer journey regardless of channel the customer is interacting in.

“It’s about seamless communications with the customer with one consistent message,” he said. “Having one source of the truth for the customer and centralising that information was non-negotiable.”

That ambition saw Vinomofo extend its investment into HubSpot’s marketing platform, making it the backbone and one source of truth for an integrated, multi-channel customer efforts.

At the same time, the online retailer began exploring text messaging as another channel for sales conversion and engagement. To do this, it partnered with tech partner, MessageMedia.

“In September-October 2019, we noticed gradually that open rates for our emails were not as strong as they had been. We recognised we might need another sales channel and that we should not have all our eggs in one basket,” Favia said. “SMS came up and we decided to give it a shot.

“We got the sugar rush with great performance from those initial efforts. So we started using SMS as another channel similar to email and we have seen fantastic results, which prompted us to scale from there.”

To do this, integration between MessageMedia and HubSpot’s respective technologies was critical. So the MessageMedia team built a direct integration, now called SMS for HubSpot. This allows automatic logging and tracking of activity against individual contacts within HubSpot, plus an ability to create cross-channel automated workflows combining multiple forms of communication, including email and SMS.

“This integration is key to aligning all propositions moving forward, and everything should go through HubSpot, which should then trigger the other channels,” Favia said. “That gives us that consistency across every experience for the customer.”  

Vinomofo has created a raft of use cases for text messaging including promotional offers, new customer on-boarding, birthday automations and importantly, re-engagement campaigns. The latter have been particularly important for customer retention during the COVID-19 crisis.

For example, in an effort to slow customer churn, email and SMS were used together to target customers that hadn’t purchased for up to 12 months. The workflows were built in HubSpot, with journeys built based on various segmentation and triggers such as last date of purchase, the days between communications and customer actions. In this instance, SMS was an alternative or addition to existing automated email triggers.

So far, adding SMS into retention workflows has seen the group chalk up an additional 50 per cent recovered customers with a return on investment of $120:1. Favia also cited a 0.05 unsubscribe rate and 21 per cent increase in sales conversion.

“Last month alone, we recovered five times the customers we lost last year,” he said.

“We took money from push campaigns, put it into workflows, and organised these in a way that shows us communications impact across digital channels like emails. We send you 1-2 emails depending on the workflow and then we use SMS, which has proven super effective.

“So we’re putting money behind the behaviours we are seeing and benefitting from that.”

Favia also cited strong customer satisfaction results, a higher percentage of customers moving up tiers and segments and a +86 Net Promoter Score.

“We actually used HubSpot for another workflow based upon your NPS score, and triggered more workflows based on these scores,” he added. “A core key source of acquisition is how likely you are to refer a friend. If you had a good experience, we’d ask you to refer a friend. Everything comes back to that single customer view.”

Rethinking journeys

The way Vinomofo approaches customer journeys has changed significantly in line with the technology overhaul and insights being delivered. Importantly, channel communication is increasingly intertwined and interrelated.

For Favia, one benefit has been empowering employees to be more conscious of their role in Vinomofo.

“It’s not just channel based, or offline sales, it’s the combination of things and if you mix it up, everyone works better together,” he said. “So it changed those internal dynamics. Secondly, it’s changed the sales strategy. We know there are specific times when we don’t target people that are active in a workflow. This creates an input for me to plan, decide how many people I can and can’t target, and how we then proceed with our messaging.”

The work done on SMS and building a 360-degree customer view is also informing content, creative and customer journeys and workflows in more of a loop, Favia continued.

“For example, we know it takes approximately one sale to tier up a customer. We can take that and based on that insight, we can trigger other workflows,” he said. “It’s the same with exclusions – we know when not to bother the customer. If you bought wine today, it’s very unlikely to hear from us for 14 days.”  

As for SMS specifically, Favia said its utilisation is very much response-based for now. But he saw its potential in improving customer service long-term. One example could be using text communications when a delivery is about to be made. Currently these come via Australia Post.

“That’s where I see SMS sitting on top of the customer strategy,” he said.  

Vinomofo is also looking to see how SMS can be used to send out personalised messages direct from a customer’s chosen wine dealer. Another frontier is closing the gap on offline sales.

“We are nailing online, but we also have an offline team. Using HubSpot SMS to tell our own salesforce to contact or not contact a particular customer. So we’re working to reduce that gap between offline and online by using people to establish human relationship to retain them, and acquire to refer,” Favia said.  

“Having the data in HubSpot is key to trigger all these workflows for the whole team. And everyone seems to be on-board.”  

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