Floral services company Teleflora is in the business of sending personal messages. “A lot of people shop with us because they have a very specific, personal need,” says Beth Monda, VP of e-commerce for the flower company. “Perhaps a holiday is coming; it’s a friend’s or loved one’s birthday, or they want to send well-wishes, congratulations, or sympathy thoughts. So, when customers come to us, there’s often a specific, personal event or period in a person’s life. Flowers are a personal gift.”
Monda says personal messages and personalization are woven into the company’s fabric, and so marketers at Teleflora know their marketing messages need to match that DNA, and, of course, complement customers’ desires for personalization. That’s especially true, she says, with Teleflora’s email marketing messages.
“But for us, the personalization element was a challenge, because it’s difficult to marry up recommendations in your emails without enough or the right resources,” Monda explains. She says that before last spring Teleflora wasn’t personalizing its email content, didn’t send triggered emails based on shoppers’ behaviors, and had a tough time sending timely abandoned-cart emails, which took about three weeks to deploy. Even then, those triggers worked only when shoppers logged in to Teleflora’s website.
“For most websites, including ours, not a lot of people log in,” Monda says. “And if they do, it’s late in the process—most likely when they’re checking out, at which point an abandoned cart isn’t relevant anymore. We had to figure out how to message in a different way,” she says.
So the team at Teleflora decided to change its approach to email. In keeping with Teleflora’s personalization-oriented culture and offerings, its email marketers set out to uncover what makes communication more personal to its customers. “Timing makes an email message personal,” Monda explains. “And understanding if the shoppers have an interest or intent at the moment you’re communicating with them. It becomes noise if you send [those messages] when they’re not interested. But it’s personalized when you send it to them when they are interested.”
Monda says content also plays a significant role in personalizing an experience for a shopper. “We needed to be showing products that [buyers] explicitly expressed an interest in—by looking at, clicking through, or putting in their carts,” she says, “but also content that features suggestions that we feel may match shoppers’ interests.”
Using tools from e-commerce software company Bluecore, Teleflora’s email marketers set out to achieve two main objectives: 1) personalize triggers by identifying and then tapping into shoppers’ purchase histories and browsing patterns; 2) increase order volumes and total sales. “We had an abandoned cart program that was underperforming and needed more growth, and [we] want to remain relevant,” Monda says.
Teleflora began to identify customers through their IP addresses—the numerical label assigned to each device, which can help marketers determine factors such as a user’s location, Web browsers customers are using, and repeat visits. The information allows Teleflora’s marketers to pinpoint individual actions that can help them craft more individualized messages.
The team at Teleflora also began to set up more effective email triggers: browse-abandonment emails based on items that shoppers viewed but didn’t add to their virtual shopping carts, new product arrivals, post-purchase suggestions, enticing win-back offers, abandoned site searches, and more timely abandoned-cart emails.
“What we gained was to the ability to communicate with those who are even casually browsing the site,” Monda says. “And we married that customer data with our marketing strategies and business goals.” She says that since revamping its email strategy, Teleflora now generates 8X more orders than before; plus, the abandoned-cart emails produce 3X more orders, and email open and conversion rates have more than doubled.
“It’s important to speak to the customer in a personal way,” Monda says. “Allowing consumers to express what they’re interested in through their behaviors is an [essential] element of personalization [and gets] through all of the marketing noise.”
She says that personalization isn’t a choice for marketers today; it’s a must: “It’s becoming more and more expected that you tailor your messages to what’s relevant to [customers]. Stay in touch with them. And work to be timely, relevant, and sophisticated.”