Dollar Shave Club uses data analytics to better personalize email marketing

March 19, 2015 11:50 AM

Better data analytics has helped Dollar Shave Club—the online seller of razors and grooming products whose marketing videos often go viral—to strengthen its e-mail marketing program based on customer preferences.

Just more than a year ago, in February 2014, the retailer, which launched in 2011, hired Looker Data Sciences Inc. to help organize and analyze consumer data. “We have a developer named Juan and any reports we needed would flow through him,” says Todd Lehr, senior vice president of engineering at Dollar Shave Club. “If we needed insight into a way a new feature was functioning or insight into an email, it would go through Juan.” But that led to backlogs, unacceptable for a retailer bent on quick growth.

Dollar Shave Club needed about two weeks to deploy the Looker technology and another two weeks to create models from the data its software collected. Lehr would not detail how much the retailer pays for the service beyond saying it pays a “competitive rate,” nor did Looker immediately respond to a request for that information. Lehr adds, though, that about a quarter of the retailer’s 85 employees use Looker on a daily or weekly basis, with 40% of the staff receiving daily emails “created from Looker reports that include updated data on various company stats.”

Lehr points out that Dollar Shave Club does not use Looker to directly personalize emails but that the data filtered through its technology helps with that marketing effort. “We look at the data and make optimizations including decisions around cohorting, cadence and content based on the data we glean from Looker,” he says. “Then we use Looker as a feedback loop to determine performance of our emails. It's a constant loop as we refine our strategy.”

Looker and Dollar Shave Club offer an example of how that works: The company had a program where it sent samples to customers as a way to entice them to buy new products. “We found that blanket sampling is very costly,” Lehr says. But the company didn’t have a way to analyze data in a way that might help it better target the samples. Once Dollar Shave Club started using Looker, it discovered that customers who buy the Shave Butter product are more likely to buy other products as well. It started sending samples only to Shave Butter customers and now achieves a 100% return on investment on its sampling program, Lehr says. Dollar Shave Club’s cyber marketing team also uses Looker to study the company’s email programs. The head of that team is able to use Looker to do A/B testing of email campaigns. “She’s always trying to increase take rates and reduce churn,” Lehr says.

A Looker spokeswoman says its software-as-a-service platform “is sold as an on-premise or hosted offering, where both pricing models are based on monthly recurring license fees on annual or multi-annual commitments. Pricing is broken up between a server fee and user licenses, both of which vary on the complexity and number of licenses needed.”




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