Fashion Forward

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Retailers love e-mail blasts because they are a cheap way to reach online shoppers and draw attention to the brand.

Conversely, as consumers become inundated with e-mail clutter, many are opting out and reporting messages as spam, which can hurt a company’s chances of successfully sending future marketing blasts.

To avoid this issue, some retailers are segmenting their e-mail database to streamline messages and target the right customers with the right products. New York City-based specialty apparel chain Intermix, which has 24 locations and an e-commerce arm, www.IntermixOnline. com , is one company that uses analytics to better market to its customer database.

“We wanted to gain greater visibility into the success of our messaging and marketing campaigns to find out whether or not consumers were responding or if we were missing the mark,” said Don McNichol, director of e-commerce for Intermix. “Knowing this information would help us become more strategic and laser-guided in our campaigns.”

In June, Intermix looked to iPost, a Novato, Calif.-based e-mail marketing solution provider, for its Autotarget predictive analytic technology.

The Autotarget tool predicts customer responses to marketing efforts. The solution uses traditional RFM data (recency, frequency and monetary) plus metrics, such as clicks and views, to allow real-time analysis of Intermix’s subscriber list.

By analyzing behavioral data from e-mail marketing, its Web site and analytical tools, Intermix can break down the results to fit certain personas—customers who are likely to respond similarly.

Every interaction, whether it is an e-mail message or a purchase, is counted as criteria toward predicting future behavior.

“We are learning the finer elements of our cross-channel shoppers and solidifying their personas based on the behaviors,” McNichol said.

For example, the retailer learned that some women shop in-store on weekends, but jump online during the week to research what’s new at Intermix (The company classifies this as an “Executive Mom” persona). The timeline for her research is usually later in the evening, most likely after the family is fed and the kids are in bed, McNichol said.

In addition to learning more about who its shoppers are, Intermix wanted to overcome the challenge of accurately assessing the effectiveness of the marketing message.

“We often wondered if our last sale mailer really contacted the targeted persona,” McNichol said. “We also didn’t know if the offer was exciting enough to increase store and Web traffic.”

Now that Intermix is privy to this information, it’s learning more about what’s working and what isn’t.

“Although we have only been using the solution for a short time, we are already pleased with the results,” he added. “Now we need to analyze the results even more to see how we can take the segmentation to the next level and further narrow the message.”

Moving forward, McNichol said Intermix aims to increase touchpoints with its customers, while further growing a valuable e-mail database.

Intermix is also looking to add more technology like this in the future.

“If we could deliver relevancy at the purchase points in terms of what designers each person is interested in, or suggest similar products by up-and-coming designers, we could make the shopping experience that much more interesting and valuable to our customers,” he said.

McNichol believes analytics and segmented technology will become even more mainstream for retailers over time.

“The online industry is starting to mature and add elements of intelligent agents into the creative process, and we all have to grow with it,” he added.

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