Jen Rapp, vice president of brand marketing, Klaviyo
It’s impossible to read the news these days and not see a constant barrage of stories about inflation, recession, the cost of advertising, new privacy regulations and the end of COVID-era e-commerce surges.
For brands, it’s daunting — particularly as customers have more options than ever regarding how and where they spend. With many retailers seeing a dip in pandemic-fueled spending, what has become essential is a strategic shift away from a transactional model toward one that is centered on fostering digital relationships. Regardless of where spending occurs, most customer interactions have transitioned from in-person to digital and direct communication.
In an increasingly competitive market, it’s not enough to focus on acquiring new customers — brand loyalty is the differentiator and what keeps customers coming back time and time again.
Focusing on customer retention is not just good practice for e-commerce brands; it is a proven way to increase revenue. According to Harvard Business Review, acquiring new customers can be anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. That same study also found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by up to 95%. Brands that build a loyal customer base leverage their marketing dollars more efficiently, recognizing that repeat customers are incredibly valuable to any retailer’s bottom line.
One brand that has mastered the art of building a loyal community of customers is fashion label Loeffler Randall — which, since 2004, has expanded from shoes to handbags, ready-to-wear and accessories. When building relationships with its customers, the Loeffler Randall team partnered with Klaviyo – a unified customer platform for email and SMS, among other approaches for working with brand data.
Identifying pathways to customer relationships
The team at Loeffler Randall has spent the last 18 years designing products they would want to wear themselves — all the while working to understand the needs and wants of their customers. They know their customers are women leading busy lives who want to invest in high-quality products that can take them from school drop-off to a meeting to an evening event and everything in between. And while they have customers who have been with them for almost two decades, they also have acquired new customers who are just getting to know them, coming to them for some of their most significant life events, like a job interview or wedding.
The brand always prioritizes moments over products because that is what is important to its customers. Through the zero- and first-party data Loeffler Randall gets from its customers (like their name, their shoe size, their favorite colors and styles), the team has worked with Klaviyo to tailor email and SMS strategies, ensuring they’re sharing the right message at the right time with the right people. The team can talk to their customers like they know them because they do. This means they recognize the Loeffler Randall shopper doesn’t want to hear just about products; they want to envision themselves in the Loeffler Randall lifestyle.
These relationships have directly impacted Loeffler Randall’s business as a whole. For example, before launching its ready-to-wear collection earlier this year, the brand received countless emails asking about the clothing items styled with Loeffler Randall’s shoes in email communications. Hearing that repeated customer feedback helped spark inspiration to create a ready-to-wear line of their own, which the brand continues to expand each season.
Prioritizing thoughtful content
Much of Loeffler Randall’s success can be attributed to its thoughtful approach to sending brand emails and SMS. The brand is very deliberate about what the value of each email and SMS sent offers its customers and never sends purely transactional emails. On top of that, the brand works tirelessly to create a robust content calendar to ensure it is showcasing a variety of content each week.
Some brands stick to a copy-and-paste template approach to sending brand emails. Loeffler Randall takes a different approach, creating small-scale, distinctive communications in batches with careful attention to detail. This approach also helps the Loeffler Randall team prioritize communication tactics driving sales.
As Emma Wooley, senior press and marketing manager at Loeffler Randall, said: “Our sale emails used to be the only message breaking a certain revenue threshold, but lately, we are seeing full-price emails performing so well, and I think it’s because the long format editorial content is more engaging for the email customer.”
The brand also contextualizes its products to help customers envision how they will fit into their lives. There is a certain lifestyle around the brand, which often resonates more than any product featured in emails or SMS. For example, Loeffler Randall created an email series around founder Jessie Randall’s favorite things, including gardening items and a murder-mystery podcast to which she was listening. This email became one of their highest-performing campaigns across all KPIs, driving website traffic and increased revenue.
Loeffler Randall doesn’t expect every single email and SMS to resonate with every customer. Still, with engagement rates higher than 60%, its email and SMS content is certainly appealing to the majority of its subscribers.
Framing the customer experience as a human experience
For Loeffler Randall, customer-first marketing is about remembering the human behind each customer profile. When brands form an authentic connection with their customers, customers feel good about interacting with them, and it won’t take long for them to become loyal to the brand.
For any marketing team, it’s unwise to spend time and resources to acquire a customer and not work equally hard to maintain their attention, earn their next purchase and drive word-of-mouth recommendations to friends and families. That’s the benefit of earning long-term loyalty in a competitive market, one customer at a time.
Sponsored by: Klaviyo