The Gro Company

Christmas Campaign Drives Record December Sales

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The Goal

  • Pump up online holiday revenue without hurting sales from retailers that carry their products in stores.

The Approach

  • Engage strategist.
  • Find the right point in the calendar to launch a holiday promotion.
  • Deploy cart recovery.

The Result

  • Dramatic increase in December sales.

When Edward Scott-Finnigan joined The Gro Company three and a half years ago as its Group Ecommerce Manager, the month of a December was a revenue riddle that had yet to be solved.

“It was kind of the unwritten rule that everything shut down then, and it was always going to be the toughest month of the year for sales,” he said.

The thinking was that December was the month for The Gro Company’s biggest customers – their High Street multiples – to shine.

But Edward thought the rising tide of Christmas season sales could lift the boats of all parties, including The Gro Company’s website. December sales increased steadily soon after he arrived. Then in 2014, The Gro Company switched email service providers and signed on with Bronto.

That December, Gro decided it was time to put their marketing team – and their new marketing automation software – to the test.

Seven Days, Several Concerns

The seeds were originally planted by the Bronto Strategist working with The Gro Company. The idea: Run a “Seven Days of Christmas” sale by sending out an email a day for a week with different offers each day.

It took several months of discussions before the Gro ecommerce team took the plunge. When they did, it was with a mixture of excitement, skepticism and concern.

The biggest issue: How could Gro Company execute a Christmas email campaign without stepping on the toes of the big box stores that carry their products, including the wildly popular Gro Bag? To avoid that, they waited until the week of December 15 to kick off the campaign. By that point, all of The Gro Company’s trade customers had their in-store promotions running. But it was still early enough that customers buying through the Seven Days of Christmas sale would get their purchases in time to put them under the tree.

“The Gro Company’s December online revenue was up 28.8% year-over-year.”

“The last thing we wanted to do was put stuff on promotion and then have people not getting their Christmas presents,” Edward said.

Also, up to that point, The Gro Company’s email cadence was simple – just one weekly send on Sunday. How would their subscribers, a group that Edward describes as being very vocal online and on social media platforms, handle the sudden spike in messages in their inbox?

Bronto’s strategist convinced Gro’s ecommerce team that the increased number of sends was a good idea, given the time of year, but Edward remained concerned.

Coming Through, Again and Again

All those worries? Happily unfounded.

The Seven Days of Christmas sale produced 57% of The Gro Company’s December online revenue, which was up 28.8% year-over-year.

“It reaffirmed that Bronto was the right solution for us,” Edward said. “That was an important KPI for me – ‘Okay, this is the first time we’re really testing Bronto. How will they do?’” The strong December capped off a year in which online sales for The Gro Company grew 57% year-over-year.

“There are a lot of companies out there that say they can work with Magento, and they just simply can’t.”

In addition to the Seven Days sale, The Gro Company also enjoyed success with abandoned cart messaging and remailing. The company’s remailing numbers with its Australian customer base are particularly impressive.

“You could almost copy and paste the metrics from the first 24 hours of the send to the remail a week later,” Edward said. “It’s such an amazing tool.”

So too are the abandoned cart messages. But before The Gro Company could take advantage of them, it needed a marketing automation platform that could successfully integrate with its Magento ecommerce platform. That was a big reason behind their switch to Bronto.

“There are a lot of companies out there that say they can work with Magento, and they just simply can’t,” Edward said. “I’ve put Bronto through the rigors and they’ve come through again and again and again.”

Getting Ready Again … Just Sooner

The Gro ecommerce team will put Bronto to the test again this December with another Christmas campaign. They’ve spent much of 2015 working on further segmentation of The Gro Company’s customer base and also testing to find optimal send times. And they’re also ready to apply the lessons they learned last year – like starting their planning in September, not late October.

“We just didn’t think we needed that much preparation time,” Edward said. “Our creative department doesn’t like me anymore because we made them work pretty hard with shorter than normal deadlines.”

“This year, we’re bumping things up a bit.”

About The Gro Company

The Gro Company is an Exeter-based global nursery brand. As an award-winning and industry accredited manufacturer of safer sleep solutions, they produce a range of much loved products for babies and young children, so if you’re lucky enough to have a newborn baby or an energetic toddler but could use a bit more sleep – you’ve come to the right place.The Gro Company products are available throughout a wide range of some of the world’s leading nursery and fashion retailers as well as their own retail website.

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