In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
Using a tool that collects consumer data from multiple locations, the flash-sale retailer was able to increase conversion rates by 10%.
Rue La La’s business model is based on scarcity, the company’s director of product marketing Molly Baab told attendees last week at the 2014 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition. The flash-sale retailer runs a membership-based site where deals are available for a limited time.
That model, Baab said, means the retailer has to make it really easy for the consumer to access the site and purchase items no matter what device she’s using. “Frankly, we had no choice but to build mobile and not let it stagnate,” she said.
The retailer’s sales are announced via e-mails to members, and—as is the trend with many e-retailers—most of those e-mails are opened on mobile devices. Baab said the only e-mail opened more often on a desktop computer is the 11 a.m. e-mail, which she attributed to many Rue La La shoppers sitting at their desks at work at that time.
Consumers that engage with Rue La La over several devices are the most valuable consumers in terms of lifetime value, Baab said. For that reason, it’s especially important that Rue La La understands its consumers and the devices they use to shop.
When Rue La La wanted to market to customers who hadn’t purchased from the site in a while—what it calls dormant customers—the retailer turned to marketing technology vendor Signal, which recently rebranded from BrightTag.
Signal’s Fuse platform allows retailers to merge consumer data from multiple devices and use that data to run targeted marketing campaigns. As a membership site, Rue La La has plenty of customer data at hand because every time a consumer engages with Rue La La, whether on a mobile phone, a tablet or a desktop device, she is authenticating herself with the retailer by logging in to her account, says Joe Stanhope, the senior vice president of marketing at Signal.
Rue La La was able to do some retargeting itself, but the time lapse from data collection to putting it to use in a marketing campaign was long. Some retail clients of Signal took up to three days, he says. With Signal, Rue La La is able to run retargeting campaigns in real time—in some cases, while the consumer is still active on the site.
Rue La La’s dormant customer campaign that employed Signal’s technology produced a 10% increase in conversion rates, according to a case study produced by Signal and Rue La La.
“Customer data is one of our most valuable assets, but leveraging it across disparate collection points is a big challenge,” says Eric Sherman, Rue La La’s senior manager of acquisition marketing. “Signal solved that in short order by giving us a way to connect data and make it actionable.”