August 26, 2009, 12:00 AM

L’Occitane puts a glow on e-mail marketing backed by analytics

When cosmetics retailer L’Occitane sent e-mails to segmented groups promoting products they had previously browsed, carted or purchased online, conversion rates and revenue per e-mail surged, the retailer says.

When international multichannel cosmetics retailer L’Occitane en Provence sent e-mails to segmented groups of U.S. customers promoting products they had previously browsed, carted or purchased online, conversion rates and revenue per e-mail surged, says Matt Kritzer, director of e-commerce and mail-order, L’Occitane USA.

The Paris-based retailer, which does more than $10 million in U.S. e-commerce sales, last year integrated its e-Dialog e-mail marketing system with the LIVEmail web analytics application from Coremetrics. The LIVEmail application captures online shopping behavior as well as customer account registration data, tying clickstream activity to individual customer accounts and integrating that information with the e-Dialog e-mail marketing system. The integrated system enables L’Occitane to build on-the-fly customized e-mail marketing campaigns that target segments of customers with promotions tied to their recorded shopping behavior, Kritzer says.

The integrated analytics and e-mail management system also enables the retailer to make slight changes to e-mail marketing templates to produce sharply higher conversion rates among targeted customer groups, he adds. “We can really slice and dice the same e-mail marketing message," he says.

In one e-mail marketing campaign promoting its popular shea butter skincare cream for Valentine`s Day this year, for example, L`Occitane sent out e-mails to about 200,000 customers. Within that group of recipients, it segmented out 8,500 that had recently browsed, carted or purchased a particular group of skincare items, and modified the e-mails they received with a new subject line pertaining to those products and a related promotional display image within the body of the e-mail. The 8,500 recipients of the modified e-mails produced about 88 cents in revenue per e-mail, eight times the 11 cents per e-mail generated by the rest of the 200,000 campaign recipients, Kritzer says.

In a subsequent e-mail promotion, L’Occitane also presented displays of products that recipients had purchased, carted or browsed in past online shopping visits. That campaign produced a 17-fold increase in conversion rates and a 25-fold increase in revenue per e-mail compared to other e-mails without the same level of personalized content, Kritzer says.

The ability to modify e-mail marketing campaigns based on the shopping interests of groups of customers lets L’Occitane produce a wider range of promotions with limited in-house resources for running customized campaigns, enabling the retailer to better satisfy its loyal customers’ desire to stay in touch with product developments, Kritzer says.

E-Dialog is a unit of GSI Commerce Inc., a provider of e-commerce technology and services.

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