Apparel retailer Ashley Stewart, which caters to plus-size black women, has been learning the value of understanding its most loyal customers — some of whom visit the retailer’s stores as many as three times per week. With the help of a customer data platform that aggregates information about both digital and in-store shopping activity, the retailer has been able to leverage that loyalty into increased sales and revenues.
Ashley Stewart has used the AgilOne customer data platform for three years to track customer activity in multiple channels. This allows the retailer to, for example, provide customers with easy access to their spending totals during its “Diva Dollars” promotional periods. “The consumers earn ‘Diva Dollars’ for a 45-day period, and then can spend them during a four-day period,” explained Julie Daly, VP E-Commerce at Ashley Stewart. Daly spoke during a panel discussion at the AgilOne Customer Data Platform Summit held earlier this month in New York City.
Ashley Stewart aggregates each customer’s Diva Dollars spend and makes it available to shoppers via text, email or on a web page. “We have even added our payment tender to AgilOne, because the most important customer we have is the woman who has opened an Ashley Stewart branded credit card,” said Daly. “They account for 40% of our tender share, and some of the perks of having the card include early access to products and our ‘look books’.”
Finding Receptive Audiences For Marketing Messages
The retailer uses AgilOne to create the digital audiences for special promotions such as Shoes Day Tuesday. Ashley Stewart then works with Criteo to retarget these audiences on platforms including Facebook. The solution also helps Ashley Stewart determine optimal communication vehicles for events such as flash sales. “After testing all the different touch points, we found that for these, the most powerful methods are to email and text customers,” said Daly. “That’s what works for her.”
Armed with detailed data about customers, Daly and the rest of the marketing team can influence their behavior in ways that benefit the retailer. “A lot of times, my job is to drive you into the store, because we make more margins in the store, where we are usually not as promotional,” she said. “If I go into the online space, I’m competing with everybody that is offering products on sale.”
But the marketing group is a single team that is not split by channel. “If I don’t drive people into the stores on Black Friday, shame on me,” said Daly. “There’s one creative marketing team, and we talk about the entire brand.”
With improved understanding of customer activity and behavior, Ashley Stewart has significantly increased its percentage of cross-channel shoppers: “It had been sitting at around 9% to 10%, and now it’s approximately 40%,” said Daly.