Timing as ultimate trust-factor – Marie Amsellem, Sales animation & e- merchandising manager, BUT

A historic furniture brand, synonymous with French savoir faire and art de vivre since 1972, BUT (the French word for goal) has also defined itself as a pioneer in e-commerce, making the omnichannel customer experience a key pillar of its development strategy, where perfect timing is a decisive growth vector and, more importantly, trust factor.

In a context of increasingly “phygital” consumer behaviors, brands are trying to be everywhere all the time, both on and off line, often stretching themselves thin in the process and incurring significant costs, not only in terms of ROI but of reputation.

As information keeps flowing more and more abundantly, with available time becoming scarcer and scarcer, brands need to hone their sense of “when” it is the right time to get in touch with their customers. With the right timing you can apply precise targeting methods that preserve the coherence, quality and consistency of your messages as well as display consideration for your customers, leading to a mutually beneficial, relevant and personalized dialogue.

Thanks to its partnership with notify, dating back to March 2019, BUT boasts cutting-edge AI-powered technology that unlocks real-time insights on user navigational activity to determine the best time to reach customers and on which channel. The brand was thus able to carefully curate its communication campaigns according to its customers’ uses and preferences and develop a customer relationship that reflects not only their needs, but also anticipates their expectations.

Marie Amsellem, Sales Promotion & e-merchandising manager explains the reasons for this partnership, and takes stock of the situation one year later.

Why did you decide to team up with notify? What were the challenges you wanted to meet?

I met notify’s teams at the 1to1 Monaco trade show in March 2019. The problem we were facing at the time was that for deliverability and e-reputation reasons, our promotional newsletters only reached about half of our opt-in base.

We therefore established two main objectives: one was to solicit more opt-ins without jeopardizing our overall deliverability, the other was to improve our performance on the opt-ins that were already receiving our newsletters.

Can you go into more detail about the collaboration between your teams and notify?

After our initial meeting, an audit was carried out over the summer, followed by the implementation of a POC on 40% of our opt-ins. By February 2020, being very satisfied with the results, we decided to go 100%. We had little time and few resources internally to manage the project and were fully and efficiently supported, in particular by our Customer Success Officer Claudia!

How did notify help you meet your objectives?

The results speak for themselves: the number of recipients of the promotional newsletter doubled and we substantially increased the opening and transformation rates of our active base.

There were over 30% more openings compared to our control base and cashed in €4.5 per target on our active base and + €1.18 on the inactive one.

Is there anything about this project that especially impressed you?

It far exceeded our expectations… We did not expect to be able to “reactivate” so many inactive customers or to generate such incremental revenue.

Can you tell us how you dealt with the Covid 19 health crisis? How did you and your teams approach the situation?

As a matter of fact, we had just set up remote work at BUT and the teams had all the necessary tools to be immediately reactive. However, this meant a big upheaval from a business point of view since most of our turnover is generated in stores and all of them were closed.

In addition, at the beginning of the lockdown, we discontinued remote deliveries for obvious safety and health reasons.

Consequently, we had to revamp our communication strategy: We took on a more inspirational role while our marketplace merchants were able to make home deliveries taking all the necessary precautions.

Then, we reopened two stores in the Paris area that exclusively took care of home deliveries and contactless Click & Collect. Once this proved to be working, we authorized the opening of other stores in the rest of the country based on the same idea.

Finally, on May 12th, we reopened all our stores to customers in strict compliance with safety and health guidelines.

Did notify help you during this difficult period?

Emailing, and therefore notify, played a major role in helping us keep in touch with our customers, despite the interruption of our services and the closure of our stores. We had cut off all sources of paid traffic, and all our outbound communications were going through emailing and/or social networks. Thanks to personalized messages that were sent at the right time, we maintained a crucial conversational connection that showed we were always there, listening to our customers.

Without notify, half of our customers would not have received our emails, the editorial lines of which had been rethought in a more inspirational way. Some were more creative, introducing new styles, others were informative, announcing the gradual resumption of our activities and the opening of our stores.

How do you anticipate the coming months?

 It’s difficult to make long term plans or even midterm forecasts considering the unprecedented situation.

Like many others, we think that the lockdown period highlighted the essential role of digital, and that web activity will expand exponentially in the coming months. Which is why we set up a free Click & Collect system that works by appointment and is completely contactless. It’s proving to be highly efficient, so we’ll be capitalizing on that going forward.

Did your collaboration with notify give you any other ideas for the future?

We’d like to continue to accelerate the reactivation of our inactive base and we’re considering the use of private tags to integrate more emails.

For you personally, what matters most in customer experience?

It’s not a transaction. It begins way before and continues long after someone has pulled out their credit card. Time matters as much for us as for our customers, so having a solution that allows us to use this time wisely at every step of the journey, is how we show our customers respect and why they trust us.