Imagination Media was among the 4,000 people that attended the Retail Innovation Conference and Expo (RICE) in Chicago May 10-12. Below are our key takeaways.
It’s estimated that the number of booths at RICE (formerly IRC or RetailX) went from:
People want to be at trade shows and the growth year-over-year shows that. Next year is expected to be even bigger!
Another takeaway from RICE is that brands naturally migrate to speak to other brands. Speaking sessions are paramount for networking and brand recognition. Merchants attend sessions to learn what other brands are doing, and how they can implement the same strategies into their business.
“RICE was full of eCommerce conversations. It was a refreshing sight after two years of trade show limbo.”
James Denker, VP of Partnerships
One of the themes this year was personalization. Connecting with your customers where they are and creating an omni-channel experience is critical. Retail eCommerce continues to grow into the billions. Personalization is a key component to gaining market share.
Featuring Dana Rebecca Designs and Klaviyo
Imagination Media was excited to be in the crowd to show support to Blair Peterson, VP of Strategy, from Dana Rebecca Designs at her session titled “Meeting Customers Where They Are Through Personalization”. Blair presented in a Q&A format with Tim Jahn, Customer Advocacy, from our partner Klaviyo.
Dana Rebecca Designs is a female-owned small business that empowers women to buy their own jewelry. They encourage women to feel special every day. They have successfully leveraged owned marketing channels to develop relationships with their customers, generate loyalty, and improve acquisition.
This is how they did it.
Dana Rebecca Designs traditionally sold through their brick-and-mortar locations primarily. When the pandemic hit, they had to shift gears. They learned not to take themselves so seriously. The owner, Dana Gordon, flipped the camera around for the first time on their Instagram account sharing how she was running the business from home. They found that engagement increased because it was relatable content. They encouraged people to support Dana Rebecca Designs by following them and engaging on social media – not necessarily buying jewelry. By connecting with their audience, they gained followers and engagement which built loyalty for their brand.
What does the customer need to feel good about purchase?
If you have an abandoned browse, then send a ring sizer email. If the customer doesn’t know their ring size, they can’t buy a ring. It’s an educational message that also encourages the customer by making them feel good about purchasing.
Think about what obstacle is from the customer’s point of view and overcome it for them.
Before you can segment and build flows, you need to know your customer. Dana Rebecca Designs successfully listens, engages, and responds to their audience. They target messages based on where the person is in the buying process to convert them to a customer. Then, they create automated flows specific to each phase of the customer’s journey. Staying with the theme of not taking themselves too seriously, they “play” with their marketing efforts using trial and error, and A/B testing. Their messaging evolves from there.
A great example of this is the abandoned cart. People who abandoned their cart receive tailored educational pieces such as Dana Rebecca Designs core values or how they ethically source diamonds. Every communication doesn’t have to be a sales pitch. In fact, by educating the consumer on the brand and ideals of the company, they brought people back to their website.
Today, Dana Rebecca Designs has multiple flows for every step of the customer journey. It is an automated life cycle triggered by website behavior. Adding an automated flow to the abandoned cart has become a huge revenue driver for them.
How do you know what’s working?
Attracting a loyal customer to their brand is more important than a high value purchase. Dana Rebecca Designs measures their flows with analytics tools. They watch open and click rates in Google Analytics and utilize data provided by Klaviyo. Traffic conversion revenue is another data point they track. They also use heat maps for emails and tailor all messages. Flows are never a “set and forget” scenario. Their flows are continually monitored, and content is updated to keep it fresh.
Dana Rebecca Designs learned to lean into their loyalty members. They pulled back large-scale marketing and focused on their engaged audience. Their loyalty program tells customers how many points they have and how much store credit they have earned. They focus on inspiring customers to make their next purchase. By analyzing the last purchase’s price point and recommending a product in the customer’s predictive spend, they drive aspirational purchases.
The best way to develop strong customer relationships is to speak to customers through all channels and communicate in the way the customer wants. They infuse language from Dana Rebecca Designs and send emails from Dana herself. They have found that first person is more relatable and makes a deeper connection with their customers. Their customers love to see Dana and what she is wearing or hear what her favorite piece is from the newest launch.
Email is not going away. Maximize it within the lists you have. At Dana Rebecca Designs, their list hasn’t grown much but revenue has grown dramatically. So, work with who you have and get comfortable with that. Listen to your customers, personalize your automated flows, and create exceptional experiences to convert them to make a purchase.
“When you have growth in direct channels, you know you are doing it right.”
Blair Peterson, VP of Strategy, Dana Rebecca Designs
Imagination Media is headed back to Chicago June 8-9 for Salesforce Connections! We look forward to seeing our Salesforce partners and learning about their latest products.
What’s it like working at Imagination Media? This is what one of our developers has to say:
"It's hard to enumerate the number of opportunities given to me since I started working at Imagination Media. From the highest leaders to the project level, we can see the empathy culture built in the company. And that is only comparable to the commitment of the same people to deliver something useful and remarkable to the client. I’m happy to be a part of this mechanism that is being improved even with the hardest challenges that can appear."