February 26, 2008, 12:00 AM

Switching platforms helps boost e-mail sales by 30% at Fire Mountain Gems

A switch to software from StrongMail raises the e-mail delivery rate to 99.7%, pushing more traffic to Firemountaingems.com and increasing return on a year-end e-mail promotion.

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

A switch to a new e-mail software vendor last fall helped double end-of-year traffic at the web site of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, the retailer reports. As a result, the company’s end-of-year e-mail promotion that launched on Christmas Eve 2007 and ran through New Year’s Day 2008 realized 30% more revenue than it did a year ago.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, which sells supplies for making jewelry, relies on e-mail to drive sales at Firemountaingems.com, and it delivers a large volume of marketing e-mails each month to customers who have opted in to receive offers and promotions. Given the large volume, Fire Mountain Gems determined that managing its e-mail program in-house using licensed software would be more cost-effective than outsourcing the program, and it implemented software from StrongMail systems.

One key to the increased traffic and greater success of the year-end promotion is that the retailer’s e-mail deliverability rate is up to 99.7% from 99.3% since it switched e-mail platforms. Fire Mountain Gems also reports it is able to send large mailings in less time than previously, recently sending one major campaign in an hour, compared with an estimate of at least three hours to complete the same campaign using its former e-mail platform.

The company also is able to send multiple campaigns simultaneously on the new platform; formerly, it had to wait up to six hours for one campaign blast to complete itself before it could launch another one.

In addition, according to Fire Mountain Gems, the new platform is saving about five hours of staff time a week in failure analysis and reporting. “By selecting StrongMail, we can now focus on driving the most value out of our marketing and transactional e-mail, instead of worrying about whether or not it will get delivered,” says Todd Bushman, assistant manager of web marketing.

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