PHE, Inc.

Recommendations Lift Revenue and Save Time

Recommendations Lift Revenue and Save Time


Quickly launch and maintain a revenue-generating email program.

Provide relevant recommendations in email messages.

Automate segmented messages.


Engaged Bronto's Managed Services to help create campaigns and individual emails.

Deployed Recommendations Standard to automate product recommendations for in-stock items.


Within the first year, PHE doubled its conversion rates and increased year-over-year email revenue by more than a third.

Bruce Cabral learned long ago that his company’s marketing emails need to feature products. The click-through and conversion rates are much higher when he highlights items. But featuring just one or two products isn’t enough. An email with upwards of 16 suggestions delivers the best results.

The difficult part is selecting what to feature without inadvertently including out-of-stock items – especially since the emails are created 30 days before they’re sent. “It was time-consuming to select products,” says Cabral, President, Sinclair Institute, a subsidiary of PHE, Inc., the multi-channel retailer behind the brands Adam & Eve, Adam Male, BetterSex and the Sinclair Institute. “Customers love to see the products and we love to pique their interest.” Cabral is responsible for sales and ecommerce marketing for several of the brands, which offer sexual health and wellness products, as well as adult novelties to other retailers and direct to consumers.

By using Recommendations Standard, Cabral’s team saves time and increases revenue, while avoiding the issue of featuring out-of-stock items. Recommendations Standard allows commerce marketers to send targeted product recommendations to specific segments of subscribers using product data imported from the catalog.


Emails with recommendations
produce a 33%
increase in revenue.

“We have a huge product catalog, and Recommendations Standard helps us showcase all the items we have,” Cabral says. “It provides choices. Do I want to feature items that are on sale or non-sale items? I can add products from different categories or multiple items from one category. I can get very granular in what I pick to show in the message.”

Results in the first two months have been impressive: A 13% lift in click-through rates vs. emails without recommendations and a corresponding 33% increase in revenue.

Using Recommendations Standard With Managed Services

All PHE brands use Bronto for ecommerce marketing, but only the brands under Cabral’s charge use Bronto Managed Services to help create the emails and campaigns, such as post-purchase messages and welcome series. Cabral decided when the company signed with Bronto that it was a better use of his budget to use Managed Services than to do the work in-house. “It provided a faster time to value. Within the first year, we doubled our conversion rates and increased year-over-year revenue by more than a third,” Cabral says. “Email is a very important channel for us because of the overall percentage of revenue it provides. It’s one of our most profitable channels and also the fastest growing.”

Quote mark

In the first two months of using Recommendations Standard, we had a 13% lift in click-through rates vs. emails without recommendations. This led to a 33% increase in revenue.”

Bruce Cabral,
President, Sinclair Institute, a subsidiary of PHE, Inc.

A Quick Path to Best Practices

Cabral liked that Managed Services could provide best practices, as his team learned the ins and outs of different types of triggered messages. “They would tell me, ‘Here’s the point where you should put in your best offer. This is how to segment the list.’ I feel like I’ve got a leg up on the competition.” Triggered messages, those that welcome new subscribers or offer a promotion for a birthday or anniversary, represent 1% of sends but bring in 25% of revenue. “It wasn’t that we weren’t sending triggered messages before. They just weren’t as efficient, set up properly or optimized.”

With Managed Services suggesting campaigns and creating emails, Cabral’s team focuses on building out a calendar of email sends to complement other marketing activities. His team typically works a month in advance. It’s the time lag between the development and execution that was always a bit of problem as the emails are heavily loaded with clickable product-specific content.

With Recommendations Standard, Cabral can make sure customers never get an email with a recommendation for a product that is out of stock. He can also set up other parameters for categories. If upcoming emails will feature a particular holiday or promotion, such as items for Valentine’s Day, it’s easy to select the product categories to feature. “You can choose items that align with your theme.”

Cabral’s next frontier? Implement personalized recommendations based on the shopper’s browsing history. “If you are the person that always looks for videos, then it’ll show you videos,” Cabral says. “We can’t wait.”

And because Cabral’s brands use Managed Services, Recommendations Standard comes with another plus: It reduces the time it takes to build emails. While some of that work is on his side, much of it is on the Bronto side. “There are definitely savings there that we can quantify. Anyone with a large catalog can benefit from Recommendations Standard.”

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