The 2014 CRM Elite

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Today's connected consumer has more options than ever, making customer engagement, and thus retention, more of a priority than ever. It's widely known that it's less expensive (and easier) to keep current customers than gain new ones, and this year's four winners' emphasis on retention and engagement has had impressive results. One, an online bicycle retailer, used targeted marketing to incentivize customers with the right offers and saw an increase in email sales of 133 percent. A diverse architectural group whose employees were "maxing out" its old CRM solution found a customizable option that boosted its efficiency by 30 percent, discovering in the process that good technology is a prerequisite for good service. Our third winner, an online search engine for tickets to popular events, turned to a provider of retargeting solutions for mobile apps to generate relevant offers, and ended up with a click-through rate three times the industry average. Our last, but not least, winner, a computer entertainment company, found that the cloud was just what it needed to gain a 360-degree view of its customers. As our four winners show, when customers can go so many places, there's nothing that says "smart business" like a solid engagement strategy.

BIKEBERRY: Targeting Customers with the Right Offers
Retention Science's targeted marketing technology has BikeBerry's customers coming back—and spending more.


BikeBerry, an online bicycle and bicycle accessory retailer, has always been dedicated to keeping existing customers engaged, but when discount-driven retention campaigns became too pricey, the company realized it needed a better way to bring customers back to its site.

BikeBerry's main issue, owner Jack Lin explains, was that the company was losing too much money by giving discounts and coupons to customers who were willing to make purchases without them. "We were getting tired of a one-discount-fits-all approach to email marketing," Lin told CRM in September 2013. "We wanted to maximize existing customer spending and avoid giving away offers to customers who would convert without needing additional incentives." Looking to incentivize customers with the right offers, BikeBerry sought a more targeted approach to retention and re-engagement.


To address Lin's concerns, Retention Science used its Customer Profiling Engine to automatically create tailored retention campaigns for every BikeBerry customer. The technology works by aggregating and analyzing numerous data points, including browsing patterns, purchase history, demographic information, and behavioral data, to make the most optimal and relevant recommendations.

"We use highly sophisticated learning algorithms and statistical models to track and then predict customer behaviors. Using that insight, we're able to optimize retention marketing campaigns at the individual level," Retention Science CEO Jerry Jao says. "This way our clients don't have to guess—they can rely on actual data."

In BikeBerry's case, once information on its customers was gathered, Retention Science's algorithms and tools determined which customers were likely to buy without monetary incentives and which relied on them, and targeted its retention marketing campaigns accordingly. BikeBerry noticed results almost immediately. According to Lin, the company's email campaigns saw an increase of 133 percent in sales and of 200 percent in user activity.

Since the companies first started working together, Retention Science has added new capabilities, and BikeBerry has been keen on incorporating them into its marketing efforts. Retention Science can now, for example, use cookies to collect behavioral data and apply its proprietary algorithms to determine the optimal time to send emails to customers based on their individual behaviors. "We can determine whether Customer A tends to open emails in the morning or afternoon, and send [him] a message at the optimal time," Jao says. The company can also extend the targeted outreach beyond email, and deliver omnichannel campaigns through mobile, on-site display, and direct mail.

"Thinking back to the initial work we did with Retention Science, it was great, but the technology they've got now is even stronger," Lin says. "The timed emails ensure that our customers get our emails when they're most likely to read them and are actually in the mindset to engage with them," he adds. In just over a year, BikeBerry more than doubled the number of customers returning to its Web site and saw a significant increase in return customer spending. Customers are also spending roughly 30 percent more than they had previously, according to Jao. "This shows that customers are not only coming back, but are also getting offers that are relevant enough to draw conversions."

Moving forward, BikeBerry shows no signs of slowing down—the company has recently acquired its biggest competitor, Spooky Tooth Cycles, and is growing quickly, according to Lin. As far as its relationship with Retention Science goes, Lin says he hopes that it will grow as well, and plans to continue leveraging the tools that Retention Science has to offer. "We want to keep expanding our work outside of the email channel. Also, Retention Science is working on an individualized product recommendation engine, and I'm excited to incorporate that into our current marketing efforts. It's going to be pretty powerful," Lin says.

Real Results

  • Boosted sales by 133 percent.
  • Increased user activity by 200 percent.
  • Doubled the number of return customers.
  • Return customers spent over 30 percent more.

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