Rue La La Re-engages Dormant Customers with BrightTag

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Flash sale sites draw consumers with the promise of exclusivity. Deals are only available to members, and only for a short time, making each purchase feel like a steal. Still, the excitement, like each deal, is short-lived.

"Typically, there's a distinct drop-off in interest after roughly 180 days. People tend to stop buying at that point, forcing flash sale retailers to acquire new customers, which is much harder and more expensive than working with the ones you've already got," Joe Stanhope, senior vice president of marketing at tag management vendor BrightTag, says. Faced with the challenge of getting customers to convert regularly, Boston-based flash site retailer Rue La La turned to BrightTag's Fuse feature.

First the company had to determine which customers were inactive, and worked on a customer-segmentation project with its CRM vendor to identify them. To revive those customers' interest in the brand, Rue La La's team decided that the best approach would be to target them with relevant display ads. But executing this campaign meant matching a customer's profile within Rue La La's CRM solution to that same customer's profile stored by the company's retargeting vendor. "Bridging this data...was the true challenge," Stanhope says.

The task is difficult, he explains, because vendors identify customers in unique ways, with no universal legend transferable between solutions. "It's almost like the systems speak different languages, and the translation, so to speak, could take weeks," Stanhope says. BrightTag's Fuse solution cut the "translation time" to milliseconds.

Activated as soon as a customer visits Rue La La's Web site, the Fuse tool can "apply a first-party cookie, and use pre-established rules to determine whether it's a dormant customer," Stanhope says. "Fuse can then initiate an action, meaning it can send that customer's data to the retargeting vendor...all in real time," he adds. This process is unlike the standard industry practice, which involves using a third-party cookie and resetting its value during the customer's next visit to the site, according to Stanhope. "[It's] a direct match, and a major improvement," he says.

Rue La La experienced a 10 percent increase in conversion among dormant customers, and saw its time-to-match drop from as long as three weeks to seconds. "The matches were happening in real time, [allowing] the retargeting partners to get the updates in real time as well," Stanhope says.

Furthermore, Rue La La has built up a platform on which it can run future campaigns on multiple channels with the same efficiency. "We apply our own universal ID to customers, and that ID is persistent across devices," Stanhope says. "Now that there's this integration between their CRM and retargeting partners, Rue La La has a strategy for upselling and cross-selling campaigns, not just re-engagement," he points out.

While BrightTag is primarily a tag management vendor, Stanhope says customers don't have to use the tag management solution to use the Fuse technology—but most start with the tag management solution and transition into marketing with Fuse. "Having a tag management solution in place allows us to use that technology to collect the data that we use in Fuse, but there are other ways to get that data in there. It definitely helps, though," he says, "because the combination strengthens the Fuse technology and drives even better results."


Since implementing BrightTag's Fuse technology, Rue La La has seen:

  • a 10 percent increase in conversion among dormant customers;
  • the customer profile match rate decrease from as much as 3 weeks to real time; and
  • a direct match across Rue La La owned matches, rather than a match established via a third-party cookie.

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