FreshDirect Tastes Hearty Results From E-Mails to Customer Base

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Online fresh food and grocery company FreshDirect, New York, reports impressive results from e-mail marketing campaigns sent to its in-house customer database and segments of it.


FreshDirect provides online ordering and food delivery service to thousands of customers in New York City. Its Web site features 5,000 products in 1,000 categories and processes thousands of transactions daily.


FreshDirect conducts a wide array of e-mail marketing campaigns every year that typically target a subset of its 250,000 registered customers.


Recent examples include a geographically targeted e-mail to just a few thousand customers who had not ordered recently that included an offer for a discount on their next order, as well as an e-mail letting all of FreshDirect's customers know about its special offering for Valentine's Day. This e-mail offered romantic treats such as long-stemmed strawberries dipped in melted chocolate, Classic Cheese Fondue for Two, chocolate soufflé and champagne.


Neal Bayless, executive producer of FreshDirect, said the company typically sees open rates of 30 percent to 40 percent for these campaigns, "with some highly targeted e-mails hitting nearly 80 percent."


For the geographically targeted e-mail to a few thousand customers, FreshDirect got "a lift of 100 percent in subsequent purchases against a control group of the same customer segment," he said.


But e-mail is not FreshDirect's only tactic. It also uses NetTracker from Sane Solutions, North Kingstown, RI, to conduct more intelligent merchandising on its site.


For example, FreshDirect promotes products by suggesting complementary items when customers add something to their cart. If a customer adds a steak to the cart, a dialogue box on the confirmation page suggests potatoes, fresh herbs, marinade and spice rubs as well as steak sauce. NetTracker revealed that more customers respond to this type of cross-sell than FreshDirect originally anticipated.


"Initially we were probably less imposing with cross-selling promotions than we could have been," said Andrew Purcell, information architect at FreshDirect. "But NetTracker showed that customers were frequently clicking on [the complementary items]. So we have made them even more prominent on our site."


Products and categories also are recommended at the department and category level through internal ad banners on the site.


When a promotion for Wisconsin cheddar cheese runs, visitors have three main ways to access it: drilling page by page (from the home page, to cheese, to cheddar and then to Wisconsin); entering Wisconsin cheddar in the search box; or clicking on the Wisconsin cheddar banner ad promotions on the site. Comparing customers' navigation before and during the campaign lets FreshDirect measure the effectiveness of its promotions in directing more customers to buy Wisconsin cheddar.


NetTracker also revealed that promotions containing prices are clicked on more often and lead to more purchases.


FreshDirect also uses NetTracker to affirm architectural decisions the company made in its checkout area by reporting how frequently and at what point customers drop out of that area. NetTracker confirms that shopping cart abandonment is minimal.


And FreshDirect uses NetTracker to determine how frequently each question in the site's Help section is accessed.


"The Help section contains a vast array of help categories, such as delivery and payment options, food-safety questions [and] delivery questions," said David Gerridge, project manager at FreshDirect. Because delivery questions were viewed most frequently, FreshDirect made delivery a more prominent and immediate link from the home page.


Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing 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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