RST Brands Further Pairs NetSuite with Bronto to Take Email Campaigns to the Next Level

Posted by Tony Kontzer, Guest Blogger

Like just about every company we heard from at SuiteWorld, RST Brands is not the same business it started as.

Founded 11 years ago as a distributor of poker chips, RST has since become better known for its line of indoor and outdoor furniture, as well as for its Flow Wall brand of garage storage solutions. With two sites, an ever-growing list of products, and a complex ecosystem of retail partners, the company simply couldn't continue to rely on the same technology foundation.

A variety of emerging challenges — the need for a single customizable system to manage ERP, CRM and ecommerce, one that brought scalability, personalization capabilities, and support for A/B testing — led the company to NetSuite.

Yet even with the power of NetSuite behind the business, RST still struggled with its email marketing solution, a critical piece of its customer outreach that didn't play well with NetSuite.

It's All About the Dinosaur

Then, Matt Grimm, RST's director of ecommerce, brought home a couple of Bronto Software's inflatable dinosaur mascots he'd picked up at last year's SuiteWorld. The toys were such a hit with his dino-obsessed kids that Grimm decided it was fate's way of leading him to the solution he needed — an instinct that was validated once he evaluated the product.

Late last year, RST started its deployment of Bronto with specific objectives in mind, and Grimm divided the implementation into two phases to accommodate them. The first phase, which lasted 60 days, focused on developing capabilities to deal with abandoned shopping carts and cater email outreach to order details.

For abandoned carts, RST used Bronto to develop a campaign in which customers who don't finish a purchase receive automatic reminders. The first email simply points out that they still have items in their cart. If that doesn't get a response, a second email offers a discount on the items in question. And if the customer still doesn't act, a third email pairs the discount with an offer of free shipping.

Happily for RST, Grimm says the first two emails have proven to be effective enough that the third is rarely needed.

"Having an abandoned cart (process) has done exactly what we wanted," he said. "It's brought in additional revenue."

Targeting the Weather

As for tailoring its outreach to reflect order details, one way RST has accomplished this with Bronto is to factor in regional weather—an important consideration given that the season for outdoor furniture purchases typically last only a few months.

So, when the company launches an email campaign late in the summer, it can target customers in the northern US with offers related to furniture covers and other accessories geared toward winter protection. Customers in the south, meanwhile, might get an email pointing them toward great deals on excess inventory.

It's a practice that Grimm expects to use frequently.

"We know we're just getting started," he said.

In the second implementation phase, which also required 60 days, RST focused on welcome and pop-up messages that enable it to treat distinct buckets of customer differently. Similar to the outreach emails, Bronto enables RST to cater its greetings and pop-up to the region a customer is in.

Likewise, campaigns can be tweaked to meet particular goals. For instance, the company can offer 10 percent off of a purchase if a customer that it detects is not on its email list agrees to sign up.

Metrics Tell the Story

The results of RST's efforts speak for themselves. The company has increased its email open rate as much as 12 percent over its last email marketing provider, while click rates are up as much as 30 percent. This has translated to an impressive 45-percent increase in revenue.

Just as important, Grimm said, is that the company now has "better insight into who our customer is and what they like about us."

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