For Anthropologie, Bluecore is Changing the Personalization Game

We’ve all fantasized about this at least once: something or someone does all the work for you, and you get all the credit. It’s one of the most famous and well-known fairytales. Rumplestilskin, the goblin who turned straw into gold, got none of the credit but the maiden was able to reap the rewards and marry the king. It would be great if work life were like that. You could earn more, maybe take a vacation, or get that coveted promotion. But most importantly, the content going out is relevant to the consumer. Customers who feel that the marketing content they receive are likely to not just buy once, but will buy repeatedly.

Email marketing, while a digital product, has an unfortunately analog process to it. Usually a marketing specialist is trying to tailor a specific message to a specific segment. It’s not personalized, and it’s mostly based on inspired guesswork based on data from a similar campaign, and wrangling with lists and a CRM campaign. It can takes weeks to develop a single campaign, which is a snail’s pace compared to consumer’s purchase cycle, which is often just a few hours or minutes once the need to make a purchase has arisen.

Bluecore appears to have changed that accepted way of doing things, with personalization now possible for every individual recipient of an email, not just a specific email going to a segment. This has huge implications, not just for sales, but for the behaviors surrounding sales: abandoning shopping carts, wishlists, browsing in the middle of the night at products that may be out of reach for now, but you have your eye on.

I spoke to Natalia Rivera of Anthropologie, who spent much of her time  in her previous role at Ashley Furniture in per personalizing emails with subject lines with Persado, and the content with Bluecore. Rivera discussed the primary functions she used Bluecore in Ashely Furniture’s email campaign: she began with the behavior trigger campaigns, then moved to journey building and a targeted nurture series after the purchase was complete.

“The purchase cycle to buy furniture is longer than for clothes,” she said, when I asked about her transition from furniture sales to clothing sales at Anthropologie, where she started in April. She noticed that personalized emails had a huge boost in open rates and conversions, and made her life as a marketer much easier.

“One thing I’ve found very successful with Anthropologie is doing these one-time personalized sends. Having the knowledge that they’ve viewed a category in the past 30 days and sending them an email that’s personalized saying ‘hey, tops are 20 percent off now, checked out these last items you viewed,” and hopefully getting them to convert.” With this type of personalization and the beautiful design that does with it, open rates are about 40 percent.

I spoke to Sherene Hilal, VP Product Marketing and Business Operations at Bluecore, to get a sense of what goes on under the hood in terms of both Bluecore’s business strategy and innovation techniques.

“When email marketing managers come to Bluecore for the first time, they are always, always shocked first and foremost that we don’t manage lists at all,” Hilal told me. (No lists?!)  “We put a piece of Java script code on your site, and we are able to identity everything the customer does on that [eCommerce] website.”

All of that data, Hilal told me is managed in real time. So for an email marketing manager looking to send a personalized email, they can do so without dealing with an IT team, CRM, that is truly one-to-one personalized. Every single customer gets a different email, every time.

This completely turns the previous method of personalization, which generally segments based on product, and merchandising teams and marketing teams tug of war between what is available on the shelf and how the marketer wants to engage. When you try to segment based on population, and not individuals, everyone loses. But with this one-to-one level of personalization, consumers can be easily directed to “hidden gems” on eCommerce sites much easier and faster.

Hilal showed me how Bluecore works by taking me to a nearby computer. When I sat down at the monitor, it reminded me of a Twitter feed. The same way on Tweetdeck tweets scroll by from various feeds, these personalized emails scrolled by with different components. The same way the Twitter algorithm churns in the background showing you what content is relevant to you, the machine learning that powers Bluecore is creating personalized emails for hundreds of thousands of individuals based on a single piece of Java code.

Personalization is a key component of the customer journey. Now more than ever, marketers are under pressure to deliver not just a personalized experience as an extension of the customer’s life. If marketers can’t find away to get the customer’s attention by delivering a customized experience, they will look elsewhere.

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