How Adore Beauty boosted customer engagement

Looking to give customers the sort of personalised beauty advice found in stores through online, the ecommerce platform tapped customer data to be highly personal

Online beauty retailer, Adore Beauty, has a catalogue of over 15,000 products across over 200 cosmetics brands, serving more than a million transactions a year. Its unique market proposition is providing beauty consultation services through its digital channels, aimed at allowing customer to skip the intimidating traditional cosmetics floor.

This ethos has been built into its communications, but Adore Beauty wanted to extend this into its lifecycle marketing by analysing real-time customer behaviour.

Adore Beauty head of acquisition and retention, Michaela Michaut, told CMO being an online-only business, it has to use data as its “intent signals around what a customer might be looking for”, in place of having in-person and in-store consumer behaviour.

“We want to be the customer's beauty best friend and being able to do that at scale through data is very powerful,” Michaut said. “With our CDP [customer data platform], we’ve been able to service our customer and their individual needs, pick up on their signals and we want to support them in their journey."

Creating the in-store experience online


Looking to build out its personalisation and customer experience, the platform tapped Tealium and added several of its solutions to use real-time data and optimisation to boost engagement. This has led to a 400 per cent increase in customer engagement.

Adore Beauty needed to replicate the in-store experience as closely as possible without compromising on customer satisfaction, Michaut said. To optimise the purchasing journey, it would have to collate and activate real-time user browsing data and offer a personalised experience unattainable on the high-street.  

In 2017, Adore Beauty called on Tealium to help collect and activate data which would help it get to know customers better, deliver personalised advice, and ultimately convert to sales. Leveraging real-time data collated by a combination of Tealium iQ and Tealium EventStream, Adore Beauty rolled out the nurture campaign, ‘Guided Solutions - Concern Areas’. The campaign’s focus was to deliver advice to customers with skin and hair concerns by harnessing recent browsing behaviour data.  

The quality data sets were then optimised through AudienceStream, providing Adore Beauty with an optimal data supply chain from collection to engagement. A key capability was being able to identify browsing activity that demonstrated a customer's intent signals for skin and hair concern areas. Customers were then served with targeted and relevant email communications to encourage further consideration and purchases.  

“Based on the kind of content customers are looking at, we see if there's a particular guided solution that’s going to be really relevant to a customer, we then send them a personalised email communication around that concern area includes a range of content and products,” Michaut explained.

The nurture campaign was extremely effective as a real-time marketing tactic because it allowed customers to decide what’s best for them by delivering beauty facts and not opinions, she continued. With customers more willing to go on a journey of discovery completely online versus finding the best deal, Adore Beauty was able to build an insight-led approach – informed by real-time user browsing data – to put the power back into the customer hands during their purchase journey.

“It's not telling the customer exactly what they have to buy, but helping them in that research phase, and then really empowering them to make their own decisions about what will and won't be within a particular area,” Michaut said.

To fully bring this initiative to life, collaboration across several stakeholders including email marketing and IT teams was required, as well as strategic partners and technology vendors. By starting with the skin and hair concern areas driving the most revenue by themselves, the opportunity was seized to determine how much more could be driven incrementally by prioritising these categories into nurture track communications.  

Driven by the success of the nurture campaign, Adore Beauty has identified additional opportunities and is building out content to support additional targeted, triggered communications. For example, when a product is in low supply or even out of stock, Adore Beauty can use this information to activate email or social targeting.  

On the other hand, if a customer leaves items in their cart or adds a product to their wish list, this data is used to elevate information to a real-life representative through the website’s live chat function. The Adore Beauty representative can then offer advice and assistance without the customer having to wait in line. Tealium was also able to leverage data to interpret behavioural signals and convert them to product recommendations, by using AudienceStream to connect the dots.

“It shows the power of personalisation. There’s an appreciation from our customers that we're taking the time to look at their needs and give them something that is right for them. Each person’s beauty needs is a very personal thing,” Michaut said.

Up next: The results, plus how Adore Beauty is bringing more machine learning into the mix

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