Dormify Decks Out Its Email Marketing With Automation and Segmentation


Batch-and-blast messaging can give email marketing an outdated look, but targeted, triggered messaging can create a more modern style. Dormify—an online home décor retailer for millennial and Gen Z consumers—spruced up its own email program by furbishing it with automation and segmentation.

An email marketing remodel

Ever since it launched in 2009, Dormify has had an email marketing program. But unlike its pillows and throws, the program lacked style.

“We really knew that email was a strong part of our marketing campaigns to date,” says Nicole Gardner, chief operating officer of Dormify, “and we thought there was a lot more potential to grow that.”

The brand’s team wanted to enhance its automation and segmentation capabilities to deliver more targeted emails and drive revenue. So in January 2015, it implemented email marketing and automation platform dotmailer and integrated it with its e-commerce platform Magento.

An automation addition

The brand’s team decided to start small and focus on enhancing the triggered messages it already had in place: its welcome series and shopping-cart-abandonment emails.

Before working with dotmailer, Dormify would send only one welcome email. This message would contain a discount, and it would be sent solely to subscribers who opted in via the brand’s website popup. Although Dormify has updated its welcome program several times since first implementing dotmailer, Gardner says all new subscribers now receive a welcome email and most get a three-part series.

The first email within this three-part series contains a discount and brief brand introduction. The second email tells subscribers a bit about the brand’s history and shines light on the company’s products. The third and final message promotes the company’s social networks.

“[The series] kind of serves as an easy intro and overview of all of the different experiences that Dormify has to offer,” Gardner says, “but [it also gives them] a little nudge via an exclusive offer to actually shop with us, too.”

The content within these welcome messages can vary depending on where a consumer opts in to the program. For example, a customer who signs up via the brand’s blog might receive a welcome email highlighting the company’s content updates, Gardner says, while a  customer who signs up via a popup will receive an email with a discount code.

As for the shopping-cart-abandonment emails, Gardner says Dormify can now show shoppers the product they left in their cart, which it couldn’t do prior to working with dotmailer. She also says that the brand’s team does more testing and experiments with different factors like subject lines and offers.

In addition to enhancing its existing triggered messages, Dormify introduced a new post-purchase automated series. Within a few weeks of buying an item, customers now receive two emails: one encouraging them to buy a complementary item and another urging them to share the product that they bought on social media.

“Our audience is very engaged [and] very active on a lot of social media networks,” Gardner says. “Because the products are so visual we’ve seen awesome response with customers actually sharing and showing what they’ve done with their space.”

Stylish segmentation

Besides enhancing its automated messages, Dormify improved its segmentation capabilities. Before working with dotmailer, the home décor brand had sent only batch-and-blast messages. So like with its automated messages, it started with the basics and began segmenting subscribers based on their behaviors.

For example, Dormify has a sorority accessories and apparel collection; however, the brand knows that not all of its customers are involved with Greek life. So, its team started paying attention to which subscribers opened and clicked on emails containing sorority content, Gardner says, and began building a separate Greek email list.

“Now we can send them exclusive content without worrying about alienating the rest of the list,” she notes.

Gardner says Dormify also tracks opens and clicks to determine how frequently it should email its subscribers and what kind of content they should receive. To become even more tailored with its messaging, Dormify has started asking subscribers for their gender and birth date on online forms. This information helps the brand identify whether a shopper is a student or a parent.

A whole new look

Within one year of working with dotmailer, Dormify saw a 92% increase in email revenue. Gardner says triggered messages make up 28% of this total revenue.

Despite this success, Gardner says the brand isn’t done innovating.  “We’re always looking to improve,” she says. “I don’t think we’ll ever be done improving.”

It looks like this youthful brand’s email program is growing up.

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