Case Study: Chico’s Drives Awareness, Sales Via Display Ads
PROBLEM: Chico's, a cross-channel retailer of women's apparel and accessories, wanted to drive online awareness and ultimately sales for its three brands: Chico's, White House|Black Market and Soma Intimates.
SOLUTION: Hired a display ad program company to change the perception of Chico's and White House|Black Market's offerings, and to drive initial awareness of Soma Intimates.
RESULTS: An online display ad program based on behavioral retargeting has delivered a return on ad spend averaging $4 for every $1 spent. Chico's has also seen the success of its display program lead to a 15 percent improvement overall in its search marketing efforts. A pixel-free site integration has sped up the consumer shopping experience and significantly increased the number of shopping behaviors visible across the three Chico's sites.
Chico's was a company in transition at the end of 2009. It was coming off a turnaround year that had seen its net sales grow 8.3 percent, comparable store sales increase 6.1 percent and direct sales jump 39.3 percent. But the women's apparel retailer believed there was more market share for it to grab, particularly online. The challenge was to drive awareness for its three brands, each of which was evolving in its own right.
To help it accomplish its goals, Chico's hired Akamai, a web services and ad content provider. By using behavioral retargeting via online display ads from Akamai, Chico's has been able to serve up more relevant content and offers to its online visitors, leading to more conversions. The retailer looks at from where shoppers enter its website (e.g., an email, search engine, social media site) and where they spend the most time on the site (e.g., product pages for a specific category), then displays relevant and timely banner ads based on that data.
"We don't want to just drive traffic, we want to drive qualified traffic," said Jenn McClain, Chico's vice president of e-commerce marketing. "It's about figuring out what the customers coming to the site are responding to. We want to make sure that when they come to our websites via display ads that we're dropping them off somewhere that's relevant to them, which will continue to drive conversions."
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.