How digital marketing smarts doubled revenue at this Aussie fashion brand

How a leap to an enterprise-level digital marketing platform paid off for St Frock just as Covid landed

St Frock CEO and founder, Sandradee Makejev
St Frock CEO and founder, Sandradee Makejev

A dust storm in 2009 at Bondi markets convinced fashion stallholder, Sandradee Makejev, to go digital.

She launched her St Frock Facebook page, attracting plenty of fans and achieving an early sales goal of 10 dresses a day. Yet it was nearly a decade later that the combination of Covid, the dotdigital platform, and a strong social following took sales to 23,000 items the week of Black Friday in 2020. 

Today, dotdigital’s omnichannel marketing platform slices and personalises St Frock’s database of 300,000 recent customers, who buy through a Magento-run ecommerce site, which feeds off her one million Facebook followers. Before signing up with dotdigital in 2019, Makejev had used Mailchimp to generate $12.5 million in sales. She wanted to upgrade her marketing tools, refine communications with customers and move them to a more sophisticated database. 

“We’d come to the stage where we were too big to be small but we weren’t sure we were big enough to move to an enterprise-level system,” Makejev told CMO

St Frock was looking for a customer-centric digital marketing partner to help its team talk to different customers in different ways. It also needed to work well with Magento. 

“We made the leap by moving to an enterprise-level system in 2019, and it was the best thing because then, in 2020 when Covid arrived, everyone started shopping online and we were able to grow because we had already migrated to the more robust system,” said Makejev. 

Despite the challenges of 2020, St Frock doubled its revenue in the calendar year. Part of this sales growth was due to a more than 40 per cent increase in revenue from sales prompted by email marketing

Fashion by St FrockCredit: St Frock
Fashion by St Frock

“Dotdigital’s integration with Magento, its seamless automation builder and its great local support team made them easy choice,” said Makejev. 

“Together these platforms allowed our team to sync customers’ and subscribers’ data and their transactions in real time and to leverage user-generated data to build automated journeys and target customer segments."

St Frock ecommerce and CRM manager, Matt Page, said the brand has built automatic email and other communications programs targeting seven segments. 

“We’ve got a drive on segmentation, CX and the customer lifecycle now. The automation builder makes it easy to create lifecycle programs, such as a welcome program, by dragging and dropping types of emails based on sequenced steps and templates,” said Page. “These can be based on events such as birthday or another automatic trigger, such as not engaging with us. The system will automatically send the email once the program has been set up.” 

Read more: Use technology to capitalise on the online retail landscape 

St Frock’s welcome program alone has generated more than $200,000 in revenue, while a birthday program has allowed them to wish ‘happy birthday’ to more than 17,000 customers.    

The company’s dozen marketing, social and ecommerce staff are now using 15 redesigned email programs and another that serves communications from Facebook if customers don’t respond to emails.  

Dynamic content blocks build more relevant messaging by including product modules such as new arrivals,  items based on customers’ purchasing preferences or the next available voucher relevant to an offer at a certain stage of the customer journey.  

Although a sales slump arrived with Covid and Makejev was initially forced to shrink the business “to the size of a pea”, the team persistently marketed across channels and focused on customer service to reverse the trend.  

“We doubled our email marketing efforts and with help from dotdigital’s hands-on team, we integrated re-targeting campaigns that helped us target and capitalise on lapsed customers,” she said. 

Automated lifecycle programs have driven customer growth across all segments including conversion of 110,000 new or inactive customers. The team has made the most of recency, frequency and monetary (RFM) parameters to create highly targeted lists and streams within automation programs. Retargeting is focused on ‘non-converters’, who didn’t buy through Facebook and Google ads or SMS for specific campaigns. 

St Frock is also working with micro-influencers across TikTok and Instagram.

Page has more customer projects coming up, as well as another big black Friday to plan for. 

“We’re looking at rebuilding lifecycle programs with more refined segmentation,” he said. “We will be introducing sub-segments defined, for example, by the way the customer came to the database or other things which tell us levels of intent. Then we can respond with the right type and amount of information and messaging.

“We’ve planned customer acquisition programs in collaboration with brands such as Marley Spoon, Temple and Webster, and Adore Beauty." 

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