Perry Ellis International: Converting Customers through Personalized Campaigns

Perry Ellis International is a designer, distributor and licensor of a large portfolio of popular lifestyle apparel brands, from its flagship namesake to Original Penguin®, Cubavera® and Laundry by Shelli Segal®, to name a few.

To achieve aggressive growth and scale transactions at a reasonable return, the company needed to expand beyond channels such as Google and Facebook, said vice president of e-commerce and digital marketing, Linda Sestrick. Perry Ellis wanted to find an alternative solution that was less costly and also more targeted.

It decided to focus on the email channel, but wanted to find a way to avoid email fatigue by the customer and resource fatigue by the marketer trying to personalize. “We knew the better the data we had about our customers and their products, the more targeted we could be in developing a personalized campaign to convert new customers,” she said. But the company needed a capability to link behavioral, customer, and product data at a large scale.

Enter Bluecore, which Perry Ellis chose to partner with initially on a one-time personalization campaign. “Our goals were to boost conversions of new and returning customers and drive significant revenue without sacrificing margins,” said Sestrick. It wanted the campaign to perform better than a typical batch-and-blast email and it also wanted to optimize so that it did not offer discounts to consumers who would make a purchase without one. Most importantly, she said, it wanted to execute the campaign quickly with a process that was repeatable and that would generate strong results.

For its target audience, Perry Ellis chose non-buyers, from a pool of visitors to its own site, who were known to have a preference for discounted products (i.e. they browse the sales category or click on a sale item). Perry Ellis configured the segment to constantly refresh based on up-to-date customer interactions with the Perry Ellis site. This ensured that only those who had a clear inclination toward discounts would receive the discount message, while customers who shop Perry Ellis’ collection, runway and limited lines would not see the brand devalued with large discounts.

Through Bluecore, Perry Ellis launched a fully dynamic discount affinity campaign. Using a combination of three key pieces of data — customer, behavioral and product — the platform identified different buyer categories, e.g., active, non-buyer, lost-buyer, discount preference, category preference, high- or low-lifetime value. After building the relevant audience, the Perry Ellis team used the “visual template editor” to format and design the email, which was then dynamically populated, by individual, so that each person received a personalized communication.

The results? The campaign significantly outperformed the average traditional blast campaign across all major metrics: its open rate was 102 percent higher than that of traditional campaigns; its click-to-open rate increased 308 percent; the e-comm conversion rate was 2.4 times higher; and, perhaps most importantly, revenue was up 500 percent.

A traditional personalization campaign attempting to achieve such results would require the review of a variety of data sets to find the appropriate data points and a CRM team pulling an audience based on those data points — often requiring hours or even days to get together and that would potentially be outdated by the time it was received by the marketer, said Sestrick. Even then, because there are limitations to the amount of data human marketers can realistically analyze and apply to a holistic campaign, results are not as good. Via Bluecore’s solution, which uses a patented javascript integration that automatically picks up the three key pieces of data, and any changes that occur, Perry Ellis was able to match the customer not only to their preferred products but to their discount preference, in real time.

After its first success, the company scaled its email program to include more than 40 dynamic sends and 25 automated triggers, Sestrick said, and in its first year, Perry Ellis achieved double-digit percentage growth in overall email revenue as a result of the its new targeted campaigns.

Jordan K. Speer is editor in chief of Apparel. She can be reached at [email protected].

Editor's Note: Perry Ellis International is a 2019 Top Innovator. You can read about the other 25 winners of Apparel's Top Innovator awards here.

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