BCBG Masters the ABCs of Effective (and Profitable) Email Marketing

International fashion powerhouse BCBGMaxAzria is perhaps best known for its sophisticated, flirty style and über-sleek dresses. In fact, the brand’s mere name is one that resonates with most all self-proclaimed fashionistas. BCBG is a fun acronym for “Bon chic, bon genre,” popular Parisian slang, which in English translates to “good style, good attitude”—words that certainly connect with fashion-lovers across the globe.

“It’s incredibly important to speak to the customer in a way that feels personal and that resonates,” says Beth Monda, VP of marketing for e-commerce at BCBGMaxAzria Group. “Our messages need to tie into what she’s shopping for, who she is, and how she likes to be engaged by the brand. We really like to tailor her experience to how she’s engaging.”

Monda warns, however, that speaking the language of BCBG’s customer, tapping into her love for fashion, and engaging her, isn’t always so simple: “We’re very well-known for our dresses, but a dress can run the gamut—from casual to black-tie gala. So to just know that she’s looking for a dress really isn’t enough.”

In fact, even after 25 years of business, BCBG’s email marketing was far from sophisticated. “About a year ago, our emails were not personalized—at all,” Monda continues. “We were really speaking to every shopper in exactly the same way. [The marketing team at BCBG] realized we needed to be speaking to different customers in ways that would better engage each of them as individuals.”

In addition to that lack of personalization, BCBG’s email messages had absolutely no targeting, no abandoned cart messaging, zero search and browse triggers, and had little cadence.

“When we began to analyze the aspects that we might need to change, our team looked at even how to place products in those messages [and] how many products we should put in [BCBG’s] emails,” says Fayez Mohamood, CEO of Bluecore, an e-commerce solution that focuses on personalized and triggered messages. “Because, you see, the idea is to extend the shopping experience rather than just sending another reminder email.”

Both Mohamood and Monda say that by extending that shopper’s experience, customers are more likely to come back and become that oh-so-coveted repeat buyer.

“We wanted to gain better engagement; we wanted to bring her back for a least one visit and hopefully a full-on shopping experience on the site,” Monda says. “We also wanted to communicate with her in a personalized way after she’d purchased. Ultimately, we wanted to give her new ideas—a source of inspiration—for her next visit.”

Marketers at BCBG say they also set out to increase revenue and improve the day-to-day tasks of email marketers in the company. So with those goals in mind and with tools from Bluecore, BCBG set up multiple email triggers based on what a woman had browsed or bought, implemented retention methods—like abandoned cart emails—began to personalize the content of those emails, and established a better cadence for the times BCBG sent customers emails. The team at Bluecore even inserted a single line of code that ensured that every BCBG customer received a unique email, perhaps alerting her of new items in the fashion catalog that might be interesting.

“We’re seeing phenomenal success,” Monda says. Success that’s marked by a 525% increase in BCBG’s click-through rate, a 220% increase in its click-to-open rate, and a whopping 20% revenue increase—in just the first quarter.

“Now she is so engaged,” Monda continues. “We’re bringing her back to the site to at least consider new products that she’s never seen before. And hopefully, we’re expanding her thinking when we show her items that are slightly different than in the past. We want to keep showing her, not just new products, but products that are relevant to who she is.”

Fueled by these recent successes, Monda says that marketers at BCBG are charging ahead with personalization and crafting emails more intelligently.

“We’re always looking for more—and new—ways to personalize her experience,” she says. “Whether on-site, in her email inbox, or while she’s out in her own element, BCBG will keep talking to her in a way that feels unique and personal.”

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