April 15, 2004, 12:00 AM

What a woman wants when shopping online

In some cases, women shoppers want to avoid wading through an e-mail that pitches products geared to men. Brooks Brothers figured that out and saw conversions from a gender-specific e-mail campaign rise by 400%.

Clothing retailer Brooks Brothers is out to increase sales of its women’s line, and it’s been able to do just that online with campaign segmentation tools from e-mail services provider CheetahMail, Brooks Brothers’ e-commerce marketing manager Jennifer M. Clark tells Internet Retailer.

Across the many ways in which it acquires customers’ names for its e-mail database, Brooks Brothers is not always able to identify which customers in the database are women. But by using CheetahMail’s advanced analytics tool to prepare for a recent e-mail campaign, it was able to go a long way toward figuring that out, says Clark.

Brooks Brothers applied the tool to its e-mail subscriber database and created a new segment for the campaign. It pulled from responses to the previous three months of marketing, the e-mail address of everyone who had clicked on any women’s products or banner featuring women’s products. In so doing, it identified a number nearly double the size of the customer group who’d identified themselves in any communication as women. That larger group received a targeted e-mail featuring women’s products in March.

“Because these people had shown themselves to be interested in women’s products, you’d assume they`d be more likely to buy them, and we did see that,” Clark says. BrooksBrothers.com had 400% more conversions on the campaign from the segment of those who’d previously clicked on a women’s product vs. those who’d self-identified as women.

Without the segmentation exercise, those in that larger group would have received e-mail promotions featuring products primarily geared toward men, Clark says. “So not only were we able to send them women’s products, which we already knew they’d expressed an interest in, but we were able to track and see how much more interested they were in the women’s products,” Clark says.

Next up, Brooks Brothers hopes to segment its e-mail campaigns by product category and not just by gender. “We know, for example, that one of our most popular items online is a man’s non-iron dress shirt. Men know exactly what size they wear and the fit is consistent. So we can really target that when we have new non-iron products, and cross sell to ties, sports coats and other things. We will be doing more of that in the future,” Clark says.


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