E-Commerce Apparel Retailer Gets 8x ROAS With Postcard Retargeting
Every business website has the challenge of converting its visitors. On average, a whopping 97 percent of website traffic remains unknown, and unconverted. Marketers respond to that challenge by using digital retargeting to stay in front of visitors, but the cold hard facts are that 30 percent of devices have ad-blocker software (and that rate is growing), and response rates on digital retargeting ads are typically only 0.7 percent ... meaning over 99 percent of the purchased impressions aren’t actually clicked.
This most specifically affects e-commerce companies. In the absence of a physical storefront, website conversion is the lifeblood of e-commerce businesses. This means that even the best online marketers need additional ideas and tactics to help convert online browsers into paying customers. Blue Canoe, a niche e-commerce retailer, had such a problem — and opportunity.
Blue Canoe is a women’s apparel retailer that creates chic, stylish, American-made, and organic women’s clothing. The brand has everything a niche e-commerce apparel company would want: a clear mission and origin story; unique, cohesive, integrated product lines; fantastic reviews; and a devoted customer following.
With the intense competition for web traffic in the online apparel space, Blue Canoe was looking for better ways to convert the intentional visitors to its website.
Laurie Dunlap, founder and CEO of Blue Canoe, was open to new and innovative ways to continually adapt the brand's marketing. She teamed with her catalog marketer, Wayne Doleski at Black Bee Marketing. They approached direct marketing leader Modern Postcard about its newest channel: postcard retargeting. Called Modern iO, this channel captures website visitors, matches about 50 percent to mailable physical addresses, and mails postcards each day to those unknown and unconverted website visitors.
Laurie and Wayne worked with the team at Modern iO to develop a strategy based on abandoned carts for her most popular product, targeting visitors who showed the most interest and purchase intent. The set-up was free and simple: just a simple, lightweight tag placed on Blue Canoe's website.
“Three days after we placed the tag on our site, we saw the metrics and got very excited,” said Dunlap. “There’s a gut-level reaction to seeing how many visitors left your site but could be mailed to each day. When Wayne and I spoke about the new channel, it was a way to reach all of those missed opportunities. We’ve mailed catalogs to a purchased and in-house list, but this channel was different: my very own list that no one else could mail to. So when Modern iO showed how we could reach these unconverted visitors — every day — with postcard retargeting, we decided to give it a try.”
Since Blue Canoe’s traffic (and available postcards) exceeded her initial budget, Dunlap started by mailing to about 30 percent of the daily total.
Before launch, Dunlap and Modern iO teamed up to set benchmark metrics that could gauge performance. “Since this was such a new channel for us, we didn’t know what to expect," Dunlap said. "We were at first simply hoping for a positive response. Since I suppressed out my last 18 months of purchasers, we knew we would be marketing to brand-new customers and reactivating older ones.
“We started with the idea of a 45-day test and then do a matchback to see what came back. Having mailed catalogs before, I was familiar with the matchback process.” (A matchback is where the customer sends a file of purchase data, and Modern iO matches that data to the cards mailed in the program.)
“We're thrilled with the results,” Dunlap said. “My cost per conversion was so low that we’re now seeing eight x return on ad spend (ROAS). And when I factor in lifetime value, it’s 19x return.” Most importantly, Blue Canoe was able to measure the cost per new customer acquisition.
“I’m so pleased that 80 percent of the responders are NEW customers," Dunlap noted. "For our business, getting brand new customers is crucial, because they stay loyal.”
By using a combination of measuring conversion via the Modern iO dashboard and the pure matchback, Dunlap, Doleski, and the Modern iO team proved an ROAS that was about double their initial expectation. In addition, the Modern iO reporting dashboard shows there are more opportunities available in their campaigns. With mailing to just about 50 percent of the available traffic, there’s room for the program to grow.
“Modern iO developed a dashboard that shows us the number of daily visitors and the mailings,” noted Dunlap. “Along with a dynamic map that ‘pins’ where the mailings are going, we have incredible visibility into our campaign.”
The Modern iO program has no daily minimums or maximums, so Dunlap and Doleski have complete flexibility with the budget and volume of postcard retargeting to blend with Blue Canoe's other marketing channels.
“It’s incredible that they’ve achieved the golden goal: reduce risk and deliver big returns," said Dunlap. "Modern iO Postcard Retargeting is a powerful way for us to engage and convert my audience that has already shown an interest in our apparel. It’s a game-changer.”
Chris Foster is vice president of new business development at Modern Postcard, a Direct Marketing company serving SmB, Mid-Market, and Enterprise businesses in Retail and other markets. Contact Chris Foster directly at email@example.com.
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Chris Foster is vice president of new business development at Modern Postcard, a Direct Marketing company serving SmB, Mid-Market, and Enterprise businesses in Retail and other markets.
In addition, he has been teaching Brand Strategy and Positioning at UCSD Extension since 2009. He has lead professional workshops and presented at numerous San Diego and national marketing events; been guest lecturer at SDSU Marketing Courses; and participated in numerous professional panels.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-959-8365 x1167.