Hudson Shoes

Many Small Steps Lead to Big Leap in Revenue

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The Goal

  • Begin to personalise emails.
  • Automate segmented messages.

The Approach

  • Automate triggered emails.
  • Recover abandoned cart revenue.
  • Engage consumers through events.

The Result

  • “Send and hope” strategy replaced with one of “target and convert.”

When Jonathan Dicks joined Hudson Shoes as eCommerce Director a few years ago, he inherited a blank slate in terms of e-commerce marketing.

“There was an e-commerce site and that was about it. That was as far as the strategy went.”

Hudson’s email marketing was in a similar state.

“It was simply, ‘We’ve got a customer base, and we’re just going to send out the same email to all and hope they purchase’.” Fast-forward to today and things are much, much different at Hudson Shoes.

Hudson’s email-generated revenue for 2014 was 274% higher than its 2012 total – the last full year it had with its previous provider. The growth curve has gotten even steeper recently, with Hudson’s 2015 Q1 email-generated revenue outpacing its Q4 2014 numbers by 75%.

How did Hudson get from there to here? By taking a multi-pronged approach to its marketing.

“There’s no golden ticket,” Jonathan said. “It’s all about the many different incremental changes you can make.”

With help from Bronto, which partnered with Hudson in late 2013, “send and hope” has been replaced by “target and convert.”

5X Lift in Conversion Rates From Gender Segments

Previously, Hudson had what Jonathan dubbed a shotgun approach to its email – firing out its messaging across the full range of customers, hoping some of it would connect.

They began using Bronto’s segmenting tools to change that. And the results were dramatic, even when the tactics were fairly straightforward.

For example, Hudson began segmenting its customer list by gender. Men received emails featuring a men’s shoe style against a blue background. Women got one with pink as the background color and a women’s shoe style.

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“That in itself just pulls people in to believe, ‘This is for me’,” Jonathan said. “Simple segmentation can have a big effect.”

Big indeed. Hudson found that campaigns that were segmented by gender had 5x the conversion rates of messages sent to the entire list. A laser beam replaced the shotgun.

Abandoned Basket Messages Increase Conversion Rates by 4X

Hudson also generated significant revenue by bringing shoppers back to the items they left in their basket on the website. Abandoned baskets can be a source of frustration for e-commerce marketers, but they’re also full of potential. Shoppers who’ve gone to the trouble of selecting items and putting them in their basket are just a step away from a lucrative conversion.

“They’ve already partially committed to making a purchase,” Jonathan said. “They just didn’t give you the money.” Hudson has been completing the other half of that equation with highly effective messages triggered through Bronto’s Workflow Automation tool, automatically sending messages to shoppers one hour after they’ve left the basket.

These abandoned basket emails enjoy 4x the conversion rate of any other messages Hudson sends. In all, 22% of Hudson’s email revenue comes from abandoned basket messages.

“Revenue is leaking from your site,” Jonathan said. “These triggered messages plug the holes.”

Brand-Focused Messages Have Big Revenue Payoff

Hudson also had success marketing to their customers even when they didn’t appear to be doing any marketing at all.

“People tend to like our brand, not just the products,” Jonathan said. “It’s the whole brand experience.”

Hudson has worked at creating a brand environment that makes their customers feel cared for and special. During the 2014 Christmas season, Hudson employees manned the counter at the Canary Wharf ice rink. When skaters returned to exchange their skates for their shoes, they also received a brand new pair of shoes from Hudson. A video of the event was a sensation, generating over 100,000 views on YouTube.

Earlier that fall, Hudson employees took over a nearby Brooklyn Coffee shop for a morning, serving free coffee to customers. Shoes played absolutely no role in the video. But when Hudson included the video in an email to its customers, the lack of shoe promotion didn’t seem to matter.

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“Lo and behold, it generated the highest revenue in that month of any email,” Jonathan said. “Because it engaged with people. It’s not always about the hard push.”

Those are just a few of the steps Hudson has taken in its e-commerce journey. Some have been bigger than others, but it’s all contributed to moving Hudson in the right direction.

“It’s about finding what mix is going to work for you,” Jonathan said. “What’s the right recipe?”

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