How bellabox delivered triple-digit email revenue growth

Australian beauty box subscription provider talks through its email marketing investment and efforts to improve customer retention

Beauty subscription box provider, Bellabox, has seen its email marketing revenue increase by 156 per cent in the past 12 months after successfully transforming its digital marketing approach.

Bellabox A/NZ customer marketing manager, Alana Arthur, told CMO the Melbourne-based beauty sampling provider has experienced rapid growth in subscriptions over the last 18 months off the back of fresh brand partnerships, and now boasts of more than 20,000 subscribers. The company provides both a monthly member-based beauty box subscription as well as limited-edition boxes that can be purchased standalone. Each includes at least five beauty products, such as make-up, skincare and bath products.

As subscriber numbers grew, bellabox faced the challenge of keeping customers comprehensively engaged, Arthur said. As a first step upon joining the organisation, she brought together communications with customer marketing and service in order to organisationally join the dots across customer engagement.

The second step was to invest in dotdigital’s email marketing platform as a tool to support stronger customer retention efforts via more targeted and personalisation lifecycle engagement. This, in turn, could also help drive more effective acquisition. In January 2020, bellabox worked with dotdigital to explore automation functionalities and build out a segmentation process to collect, analyse and funnel customer data that could then drive different automated programs.

Previously, bellabox lacked data and insight and was largely sending batch-and-blast emails, Arthur said. “We knew we couldn’t continue to do that and needed to take a segmented, targeted approach,” she said.

“We needed to create a tailored communications strategy, especially for our subscribers, who we send a lot of communications out to. For instance, we are partnering with many brands in the box, then there’s the communications around an upcoming payment, when we’ve taken payment, then if that’s been successful. So when we push out product news, information about sales or a new launch, we needed to create segments and to collect more data to send things out in a more targeted way.”

On the journey

Arthur said it’s been a big lesson in data processing from a back-end perspective to build alignment around what customers really wanted and were looking for from bellabox and work out appropriate segments. This required marketing to rely heavily on the IT team to connect the back-end into dotdigital. It built the engagement strategy from there.

Alana ArthurCredit: bellabox
Alana Arthur


“It’s key we take customers on a journey,” Arthur continued. “At the moment, it’s not all connected because our website is ageing, and there is still manual processing data every month. But we have a connected API so our financial emails are automated. This means when someone signs up, they get a welcome email, information, then go on a journey from there. Previously, this wasn’t triggered.”

Segments are based on whether a consumer is a non-member or member, previous purchases and demographics. Emails are then tailored accordingly. For example, bellabox is using dotdigital’s automation capabilities to run triggered email re-engagement campaigns such as proactive expired credit-card reminders, failed payments, and win back offerings for customers that have left bellabox including unique discount codes, and a solus email to increase product feedback.

Among the most significant performers so far are financial re-engagement emails, which have a 22.5 per cent return rate. Having recently tweaked creative to include a stronger CTA, bellabox has seen an average open rate of 52 per cent, up from 40 per cent, while click-through has lifted to 51 per cent, up from 14 per cent.

Having the ability to do more review and win and feedback emails also helps Bellabox provide more feedback to its product and brand partners, adding another layer of depth to these partnerships and products supplied, Arthur said. These emails link directly to data fields, adding to the insights the group is building around what different segments want in terms of products and content.

For instance, hard data on the fact millennials tend to buy more make-up while gen X are more into skincare products informs communications bellabox sends out to them as well as the types of content best suited to these segments, Arthur said.

“We also know we need to educate customers more on some products – there is a gap where we could be telling them more,” she said. To help, bellabox recently recruited a content creator.

Having targeted email marketing proved especially useful during the COVID-19 pandemic, Arthur said. Bellabox initially saw a leap in sales from new customers wanting to treat themselves during lockdown, which was then tempered as existing members were forced to pause or cancel membership due to job loss or financial worries.

Updated email marketing creatives and strong retention strategies meant bellabox was able to appeal to lapsed customers and win them back, Arthur said. Recently, the business hit a milestone by selling three million boxes.

These, along with lead generation campaigns, has seen the company record nearly 70 per cent growth in its database. Overall, Arthur said bellabox saw an increase in email marketing revenue of 156 per cent in the 12 months to August 2020.

As well as further refining email marketing efforts and creative, Arthur said the next priority is building out bellabox’s new website, a project underway prior to COVID-19 striking that was put on hold during the height of the crisis. Once completed, this will link directly to dotdigital, opening the door to further multi-channel segmentation and tailored communications, she added.

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