Better E-Mail Delivery Fattens Sales for Baby Phat

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Hip-hop women's wear label Baby Phat is boosting online sales by improving e-mail delivery and click-through rates.


Among people who click through on Baby Phat's weekly promotional e-mails, 2 to 4 percent convert to purchases on BabyPhat.com. Conversions from the 400,000-strong e-mail database have improved steadily over the past few years, said Justin Schaldone, head of e-marketing at eFashion Solutions, Secaucus, NJ, Baby Phat's e-commerce partner, as the company has cleaned its list and improved delivery.


Weekly e-mail blasts are a main sales driver on the e-commerce site -- the "flagship Baby Phat store," Schaldone said. The brand, developed by Kimora Lee Simmons, focuses on Web sales because it does not have its own brick-and-mortar stores. Some Baby Phat products are sold in Macy's and other department stores, but eFashion mainly uses e-mail to drive customers to BabyPhat.com, where a much broader selection of apparel, accessories and footwear is offered.


To start driving more sales to the site, eFashion began working with retention e-mail marketing firm iPost, Novato, CA, in June 2004.


"They allow us to manage large, multiple lists while keeping them updated and clean," Schaldone said.


Depending on the type of promotion, eFashion segments the extensive Baby Phat list by geographic region and previous purchase patterns, including targeting the brand's "top tier" customers.


"We also look at customers who never purchase, and every now and then we'll give them an update," he said.


EFashion has kept the e-mail list clean and raised delivery 10 percent in the past year or so. IPost also has improved eFashion's ability to gather click-through data, "which has been key in helping us determine e-customer interests," Schaldone said.


Click-through rates on the weekly e-mails -- typically announcing new products available on BabyPhat.com -- have risen to 25 percent to 35 percent, depending on the offer and content. Click-through and open rates are particularly high on e-mails offering free shipping during the holidays, Schaldone said. Still, discounts are not a focus of the weekly e-mails, nor a driver of sales on the site.


"We're not discount driven," he said. "We're the flagship store and sell 70 percent-plus of our merchandise at full price." But around the holidays, even Presidents Day, e-mails promote sales on the site.


Though the weekly e-mail blasts mainly push shoppers to BabyPhat.com, they also fuel department store visits for events and promotions. For example, recipients are being segmented by region, letting them know when Simmons will be in their area signing her book, "Fabulosity," this spring.


Christine Blank covers online marketing and advertising, including e-mail marketing and paid search, for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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