A Snug Fit With Customers

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The Goal

  • Engage with customers who buy products in multiple locations.
  • Automate campaigns for maximum effectiveness.
  • Segment to send the right messages.

The Approach

  • Increase mailing cadence.
  • Develop automated campaigns, such as a welcome series.
  • Segment by gender to send more relevant messages.

The Result

  • 413% growth in email channel in five years.
  • 22% increase in email engagement metrics from segmentation.
  • Welcome Series has an open rate 8x that of batch emails.

Clarks sells timeless, classic shoes through numerous online and in-store channels. In a crowded marketplace, the designer of the venerable Desert Boot has consistently increased sales through email – growing the channel by 413% in the nearly five years that it’s been with Bronto.


“The exponential revenue growth has pushed email to the forefront of our marketing plans,” says Danielle Carlson, email marketing manager. The ease of using Bronto to create segments, automate triggered campaigns, grow the subscriber base, maintain high deliverability and, most recently, manage coupons has played a key role in the growth.


Clarks is known for classic styles that never totally go out of fashion, such as its iconic Wallabee and its easy-to-wear women’s boots, clogs and sandals. Clarks sells through its own stores, department stores, independent shoe stores and online, through both its own site and third-party sites.

“The exponential revenue growth has pushed email to the forefront of our marketing plans.”

When the company first used email, it sent a message once a week or every other week. The gentle cadence wasn’t delivering big revenue. But in generating more emails, Carlson ran into some messaging difficulties. “Women were interested when we sent them messages for male products, but our male customers didn’t respond if we sent them emails about heels and wedges.”

Gender segmentation is often done via a preference form, or order history, but Clarks decided to build its segment workflows based on click behavior. If a customer clicks on women’s shoes, they are automatically added to the women’s list. “Since we’ve done this, we’ve seen up to a 22% increase in our email engagement metrics,” Carlson says. Our gender-segmented sends perform better compared to general sends.” Open rates are 17% higher for the female segment than for non-segmented lists, and click rates are 22% higher. The overall female segment click rate is 20%. “Male engagement isn’t as strong, but that is giving us some insight into our male audience,” Carlson says.


Engaging New Customers and Growing the List


Triggered messages have been a time-saver and revenue-producer. The welcome series has an open rate eight times that of batch email campaigns. Clarks’ email team recently launched a five-part welcome series that includes an email focusing on the secrets behind comfort and quality, as research suggests the company’s tradition of craftsmanship is important to its target audience. Carlson is also working with Bronto partner Movable Ink on some of the elements of the welcome series, including first name personalization and a live Instagram feed to boost engagement.


The welcome series is all the more successful, thanks to the new customers Clarks has acquired since using Bronto’s Pop-Up Manager to grow its list. The customizable pop-up can be placed at different points along the customer’s journey through the website. Weekly email acquisition has increased four-fold since deploying the pop-up. “We’re also testing within the pop-up a lot. We’re changing the design and the offer and configured the firing rules differently. We’re also treating the pop-up differently depending on whether the customer is coming from a desktop or mobile device,” Carlson says.


With omnichannel brands, offering discounts for online purchases needs to be handled with care. When Clarks first experimented with triggered birthday messages that included coupons, they quickly realized the coupon codes were leaking all over the web. “We actually had to pause and then disable the program,” Carlson says. With Bronto’s Coupon Manager, unique codes are displayed for each consumer – allowing her to selectively use coupons for triggered lifecycle messages.


Next Steps: Gaining a Better View of the Customer


Clarks has an exceptionally engaged email audience, which it believes is related to brand loyalty among its shoppers. Carlson wants to use the email subscriber base as a jumping off point to better understand the customer. Clarks is working with Bronto partner AgilOne on customer relationship management projects that will feed customers into segments based on shopping behavior. “We really want to learn more about our customers,” Carlson says.


Another goal is to connect in-store to online sales. “When we understand the customer’s favorite shopping channel, we can tailor the right offer and message to them.” The company knows that those that buy in both locations are likely the most loyal and valuable customers. “These customers are actually better for the company,” she says.


Ultimately, Carlson wants to reach a point where she continues to send email at a brisk cadence – but with fewer batch-and-blast emails. “My ideal is that our triggered emails are generating the revenue. That’s my ultimate goal. Bronto helps me get there because it’s easy to use and deliverability is great.”