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Case study

Revolve drives revenue growth with personal, data-driven marketing

How a digital-native retail brand uses real-time data and triggered messages to build a loyal customer base and dominate the fashion industry.

Summary

Revolve is the next-generation fashion retailer for Millennial and Generation Z consumers. The digital-first brand has leveraged customer data, digital channels, and analytics to transform the shopping experience and dominate the fashion industry. Propelled by a dominant presence on social media, Revolve’s strategies garnered them one of the most successful IPOs of 2019 with a market value of $1.2 billion. Now carrying over 500 of the world’s most coveted brands in men’s and women’s apparel, shoes, and accessories, the company is outpacing fierce competitors and setting the bar high for data-driven marketing.

Revolve, by the numbers

4 +
million
INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS
1.3
million
Active Customers in 2019
7.3
million
unique monthly web visitors
79
percent
of sales at full price
279
dollars
average order value

The challenge

In 2016, Revolve discovered that revenue per email had been declining, as email was becoming more and more competitive. Since email revenue was solely driven by list growth and increased deliveries, they knew that maintaining the status quo would result in revenue loss—even with a strong acquisition strategy. Tasked with improving email efficiency, the Revolve marketing team identified an opportunity to course-correct.

Revolve became frustrated with the limitations of their email service provider. They had found that segmented emails to targeted groups of customers were performing much better than the broadcast emails sent to all subscribers, but the marketing team had no way of getting customer data in and out of their email service provider. Executing any of their automated campaign ideas required significant engineering resources and took months to deploy. The race was on to deliver more personalized, highly relevant content, and the team knew they needed a new platform to enable them to quickly execute and test automated campaigns and truly engage in one-to-one personalization.

Key Issue

Downward trend in revenue per email

Key Issue

Limited access to customer data, campaign metrics, and automation

Key Issue

Too many resources needed to create marketing emails

“Cordial is unbelievably flexible and an incredible partner. We’ve been able to achieve a deep level of personalization that simply wasn’t possible with our previous ESP which has made a huge impact on our business.”

Jennifer Fan
Director of Customer Retention

The solution

After exhaustive research, Revolve turned to Cordial in early 2017 to further personalize messaging for their customers, create advanced segmentation to support revenue goals, and trigger email campaigns based on accessible, real-time data.


Within six months, Revolve’s marketing team developed and launched 19 triggered campaigns based on real-time customer signals. These campaigns were entirely automated and personalized based on behaviors like cart and browse abandonment, or events such as birthdays and anniversaries. Revolve also used a combination of complex business and customer data to deploy personal, relevant marketing messages—for example, low inventory on favorite items or new arrivals from favorite brands. Despite accounting for a small percentage of total send volume, these triggered emails generated a disproportionately high 20% of total email revenue. By using key customer data to trigger messages at the right time, Revolve maintains an average order value of $279 (nearly three times the average fashion apparel retailer), with 79% of merchandise sold at full price. Revolve’s messaging strategy allows them to fuel revenue with personal, relevant customer interactions instead of relying on discounting.


With the addition of triggered campaigns, Revolve was able to grow total email revenue on an absolute basis in less than a year, without adding resources to create and execute each send. Thanks to Cordial, the team was able to launch automated triggered campaigns that delivered timely, relevant messages to customers, without requiring ongoing resources. Created once and sent an unlimited number of times, Revolve’s initial triggered emails contributed an average of 8x revenue per delivery, equivalent to a projected $11.7 million annual revenue within eight months of using Cordial.


The Revolve team also saw an opportunity to personalize their transactional emails (order confirmations and shipping notifications). Historically, these messages were impersonal aside from order information, and maintained low engagement rates. Revolve transformed these otherwise stagnant messages by incorporating content based on real-time data feeds in Cordial. Within two weeks of migrating from their legacy ESP, the team saw a 17% increase in engagement rates by including dynamic, relevant content into these transactional emails.

Why Revolve loves Sculpt

Prior to using Cordial, Revolve’s marketing team planned email performance goals around historical data, working with the merchandising, editorial, graphic design teams to create, test, and iterate concepts. “We send on average 1.5 emails per day, so a lot of time has to be devoted to creating, checking, testing, and reviewing emails,” recalls Alexa Yoshimoto, Retention Marketing Specialist. Working with Sculpt—Cordial’s native messaging editor—the team can focus more on strategy, less on execution. “Now, we can enable other teams to use content blocks with advanced personalization built in,” ensuring customers receive consistency with every Revolve interaction.

“Within the first year and a half, we launched more than 200 automated campaigns. We A/B test every single message, and we’re meeting our goal of having one-to-one personalization in all our messaging. We can finally engage with our customers in a meaningful way that adds value to them. Because of Cordial’s platform, we have been able to grow our messaging program exponentially, and significantly increase our revenue.”

Jennifer Fan
Director of Customer Retention

Key outcomes

17%
increase
in engagement on
transactional emails
19
net-new
triggered campaigns created in the first six months
8.3x
more revenue
per delivery from triggered vs. broadcast emails
200
campaigns
launched since
implementation in 2017
20%
email revenue
total email revenue from triggered campaigns
$11.7M
projected revenue
Projected annual revenue from triggered campaigns

The result

The Revolve marketing team now has far greater visibility into the data generated by their email campaigns and is constantly testing to optimize. They’re fully empowered to ideate, implement, A/B test, and iterate on every single campaign without assistance from engineering. And email efficiency has increased dramatically since implementing Cordial, even though the team remains incredibly lean.

“We had some creative, cutting-edge ideas for new email campaigns and were eager to test them out, but we needed a solution that would make execution fast and easy. Cordial helped us elevate our customer experience throughout the buyer journey to achieve an overall higher ROI.” —Jennifer Fan, Director of Customer Retention

The marketing team Revolve has been using Cordial to deliver personal, relevant, and emotionally intelligent experiences for their customers since 2017, but this is just the beginning. They will continue to raise the bar for fashion retailers—using their proven email strategies to connect with customers across multiple channels like push, in-app, SMS, and more.

Send a better message.

Cordial empowers your marketing team with actionable data in real time, so you can convert what you know about your customers into a personal, relevant, and emotionally intelligent marketing strategy. We’re here to help you improve customer engagement and increase revenue across all of your messaging channels.