What it's taking for Edible Blooms to grow a stronger personalisation strategy
- 14 September, 2017 07:34
Like most online companies, Australian edible bouquet maker and ecommerce player, Edible Blooms, is seeing the cost of customer acquisition rising.
But thanks to an investment into personalisation and marketing automation, the group is finding increasingly engaging ways to build ties with existing customers that pay strong financial dividends.
Edible Blooms was founded as a gift business in Adelaide 12 years ago by sisters, Kelly Jamieson and Abbey Baker, and pioneered the concept of a bouquet that you can eat when it arrives. Today, the brand represents Australia’s largest network of gift delivery stores, with operations nationally and in New Zealand, and has plans to commence offshore operations by the end of this year.
Bouquets are crafted by its own team, ordered via the brand’s online website, and delivered by its courier network.
“Many of our competitors are technology companies and get local florists to dispatch orders. We are proud of the fact we make the bouquets people order from our website,” Jamieson told CMO. “We’ve just expanded our range to include donut bouquets, while our range of chocolate bouquets continues to be our best-selling product.”
Eighteen months ago, the team at Edible Blooms started looking for ways to better personalise email communications to customers. While a few trigger-based campaigns were in place, these lacked scalability.
“It’s about knowing when you want to hear from us, and establishing nurture campaigns automated around different triggers based on the customer journey – whether they’re new to the site, or we’ve not seen them for a while, or anniversary of the last time they purchased,” Jamieson explained.
“It makes sense to look after current customers first and foremost and existing, loyalty customers. We consciously made that decision to invest in our return and repeat customers, rather than spending a larger marketing budget on acquiring lots of new ones.”
Edible Blooms rolled out Marketo’s Customer Engagement Platform a little over 12 months ago, feeding all transactional data from its webstore into the technology stack. This allows it to slice and dice data based on a customer’s track record and level of engagement.
“It gives us a clear picture of the customer lifecycle, how many high value customers we have, versus how many use us once then move on, so we can try and address that segment too,” Jamieson said.
“It’s the clarity of the data we were looking for. We have more than 130,000 customer emails we email regularly. We were wanting to refine and automate and get a machine to do the hard work for us. We are very analytical and look at our data and customer buying trends, so Marketo seemed a great fit.”
The process of implementation was challenging, with systems integration work required to unite the platform to the Edible Blooms webstore, based on NETO's platform. To help both with implementation as well as fast-tracking learning, the brand engaged Marketo consultants.
“Using experts helped us grab the lowest hanging fruit first, which have generated great results,” Jamieson said.
The company’s first activity was a ‘buying anniversary’ campaign. This was enabled by a free service offered to customers highlighting key dates for delivery, such as wedding anniversaries, a spouse’s birthday or family celebrations.
“It showed us customers wanted to hear from us and at the right time,” she said. “We see sharing those key dates as a great customer experience we can offer. Occasionally, there will be a transactional opportunity, but it’s more a service to customers.”
In the first six weeks, Edible Blooms saw a 600 per cent return on campaign based on the consulting cost to implement that campaign, chalked up high take-out and saw significant strong growth in clickthroughs, engagement and traction.
Another early achievement was via a lapsed buyer campaign targeting customers who had not visited the site for six months. To do this, Edible Blooms prepared a sequence of campaign emails featuring a baby crying.
“By the end, the baby is distraught,” Jamieson said. “It was a bit of brand humour on our part. Our brand is fun, we feel we can be playful with communications. It’s important when you’re putting these campaigns in place to have really good creative that gets their attention and that’s relevant to them as well as your brand.”
Edible Blooms also expanded its welcome series of emails for new customers from one email triggered post-purchase to a series of three, progressively sharing different information about the company. A rules-based check stops the series mid-stride if an individual makes a purchase.
“You want your customer to feel they’re getting to know you, but don’t want to harass them and have them unsubscribe,” Jamieson said.
“In peak periods, we also email more frequently. For example, with Father’s Day, we send two emails instead of one per week. But again, we have rules in place to stop sending second emails if they purchase. It’s a balance of enough communications and not too much.”
The most recent initiative over Father’s Day was using Marketo’s Adbridge technology to better personalise advertising activity through Facebook.
Jamieson is the first to admit it’s early days using newly ascertained insights to inform its customer journey and creative. With a company culture of continuous improvement, she recognised it takes time to build up campaigns and success.
“With creative, for example, we have seen certain messages and headlines working, and we’re seeing some people respond well to offers while others like giveaways. It’s seeing the different triggers per individual. That’s the biggest challenge, it’s so powerful, where to start and stop is hard to determine,” she said.
“What we did is started with a strategic planning session to get quick wins on the boards to pay for our investment. Then as we progress, we learn the system better each time. Every time we do an email campaign we learn, tweak and improve.”
Supporting the new technology are more traditional practices to garner the interests of customers. As an example, Edible Blooms surveyed its top customers last year in order to find out more about its loyal, ideal customers.
“These elements are important for us to learn the core demographic, then frame content around that buyer and what they are looking for,” Jamieson said. “Good old-school techniques combined with the technology and smarts of Marketo’s platform will help us get the best out of it.”
In addition, the company invested early on into a plugin email template tool from Marketo partner, Hoosh, to improve and simplify the way it designs emails. Campaigns can now be created five times faster.
“The initial learning curve was steep, but now know how to manage our own smart lists, it’s great. About to start in new country in November – I spent 30 seconds in Marketo and was able to split out active customers in that country, and suddenly we have a customer database.”
The next step for Edible Blooms is to start personalising the website based on a customer’s transaction history. This means investing in two-way API link to push data back into the webstore.
“Before you invest in these technology, you need to ensure you can push data from whatever source you have - it could be CRM or a webstore. That was hurdle for us in the beginning,” Jamieson said.
More widely, Edible Blooms is in the process of refreshing its brand, as well as ensuring its website is mobile optimised.
If there’s one other lesson Jamieson would give others embarking on a similar personalisation journey, it’s the importance of quality data.
“You put rubbish in, you get rubbish out,” she said, adding the company did some work on data cleansing as part of the platform rollout.