How Glossier Uses Data Year-Round to Win the Golden Quarter
The crucial “Golden Quarter” holiday season used to start with Black Friday/Cyber Monday. It now starts much sooner as retailers kick off holiday promotions in October. Top D2C brands start even earlier in the year and use their data to prepare for holiday traffic.
Beauty brand Glossier started working with automated data movement leader Fivetran in 2019 to improve the company’s data infrastructure and respond to fast-moving fashion trends. Glossier starts load-testing in the spring, and by November it’s all hands on deck to maximize in-stock sales, balance product demand, and promote seasonal holiday specials. This is the one time of the year when Glossier deploys sitewide discounts, and the combination of real-time and historical data is how the company is able to rise above competing promotions in the busiest time of the year.
Glossier was built off the editorial platform Into The Gloss, a beauty website devoted to people sharing the products they love, which continues as a source of inspiration and information for the initial online-only D2C brand. Fast-forward nine years, and Glossier has 11 company-owned stores, with products available in 600-plus Sephora stores across the U.S. and Canada.
Consumer Desires Drive Data
Glossier moved to Shopify in 2021 to improve e-commerce data quality, using a Fivetran connector to automate data movement. Glossier uses streaming web and sales data to adjust product assortments on the fly and optimize content and placement of live ads. Throughout the quarter, low-stock items are moved below the “digital fold” and fresh inventory is moved into a top spot on the website. Potential stock-outs are tracked in real time to remove products early enough to fulfill exchanges or special orders, while merchandising for holiday-specific SKUs is adjusted to drive momentum without disappointing customers.
How to Use Data to Build Long-Term Relationships
Real-time data from website actions, social media signals and sales numbers improves agility in the Golden Quarter while building relationships with consumers year-round. Glossier has had particular success with the following strategies, which can potentially be implemented within your business:
- Build a strong brand relationship with the consumer using historical data instead of just finding them one by one in an ad — improving lifetime value (LTV) is always more efficient than initial acquisition.
- Create real-time bundles on the fly to highlight supporting products a customer skipped in the past. Do this by combining historical consumer data and sitewide recommended purchases to expand the number of products a customer might love.
- Capitalize on previous sales data and customer interest to plan for expansions to third-party retailers (e.g., Sephora). Then use this new source of data to bridge online and offline sales.
- Utilize Instagram, TikTok, and other social platforms to inform consumers, provide shareable content, and use those data signals to guide product development and identify trends.
- Create a content destination to capture an ongoing stream of data on customer desires. Into the Gloss drove Glossier’s initial awareness and continues to provide important data on what consumers want today.
Data Delivers Dramatic Growth
Glossier significantly improved results in the 2022 holiday season by using real-time insights from Shopify, managed by the Fivetran connector. These results included double-digit growth in new customer acquisition, and a nearly doubled return on ad spend (ROAS) in November.
Fashion moves fast, but luckily today data can move even faster. Glossier found that the best way to grow relationships was by capturing multiple sources of data throughout the year, then leveraging real-time feeds to maximize sales and grow engagement in the crucial Golden Quarter.
Mark Van de Wiel is field CTO at Fivetran.
Related story: Glossier Enters Into Wholesale Partnership With Sephora