Rue La La CMO Shares Views On Flash Sale Model Success And Future Plans

Rue La La
is recognized as a pioneer in the flash sale space. Touted as a members-only shopping site, Rue La La provides shoppers with VIP access to coveted brands in apparel, accessories, footwear, home and travel, among other categories. For the last five years, the eTailer has garnered a loyal customer base due to effective curation and personalization strategies across channels.

But competition in the space is heating up: More flash sale and daily deal sites are launching and growing in popularity. Additionally, retailers are implementing their own private sale models.

During a member-based Argyle Executive Forum held for retail and consumer goods executives, Perry Cooper, CMO at Rue La La, shared his perspectives on the popularity and continual evolution of the flash sale model.


While the economic recession helped accelerate the strategy, Cooper explained, “the flash sale and private sale business is thriving right now and is here to stay.” Rue La La will continue to differentiate itself and exceed competitors, he said, by investing more in personalization and merchandising tools and technologies. As a result, the eTailer will refine and maximize customer retention and loyalty. 

Cashing In On Cross-Screen Shoppers

A key to the success of Rue La La, Cooper revealed, is a focus on implementing campaigns and marketing tactics that appeal to hyper-connected consumers.

“The cross-screen shopper has paid massive dividends for us,” Cooper said. In fact, he added, these shoppers are approximately five times more valuable than single-screen consumers.

“We are playing more to cross-screen members who are very discretionary and no longer want to be confined to racks in a shopping mall,” Cooper explained. “We have been able to follow and get ahead of shopping trend curves, especially in the area of mobile.”

With tablet and smartphone apps for Android and iOS, Rue La La successfully has capitalized on consumers’ growing interest in mobile commerce and multi-screen experiences. Overall, 30% of Rue La La e-Commerce sales derive from mobile devices, Cooper reported. He added that mobile purchases have reached as much as 40% of e-Commerce purchases on weekends, and even peaked at 50% during the 2012 holiday season.

Tablets specifically are integral to the retailer’s impressive mobile results, Cooper shared. “This makes sense from a form factor standpoint,” he said. Since tablets are larger than smartphones, “typically we see far more engagement on the devices.”

Social media also plays a pivotal role in customer engagement strategies. While Rue La La taps Twitter and Pinterest to connect with current and prospective members, Cooper said, “Facebook is chief when it comes to customer acquisition.”

Furthermore, Rue La La team members are improving customer service by monitoring, listening and responding to social chatter. This method helps the company “be proactive in finding problems,” Cooper stated. “We’re always monitoring the voice and pulse of our customers and drawing insights from all the chatter.”

This year, Rue La La plans to socialize the e-Commerce site further by offering tools such as Facebook sign-in. The new solutions will complement current features, which empower shoppers to share potential purchases on social networks without ever leaving the e-Commerce site.

The Role Of Data-Driven Marketing

To make smarter and more profitable marketing and merchandising decisions, the company consistently mines and leverages customer data, Cooper stated. Using detailed information, such as past browsing and buying behavior, to drive message and product relevancy is paramount to Rue La La’s marketing success.

“We aggregate all of our data sources to make sure we have a 360-degree view of customers,” Cooper said. “From there, we start finding out what our consumers really like and how they buy. We’re steeped in facts and are letting that information drive decision-making.”

To identify personalization opportunities, the Rue La La marketing team identifies popular products and item categories. It then calculates the purchase recency, frequency and monetary value of each customer. These metrics help the eTailer mold  specific areas of the online shopping experience. For example, customized email subject lines help increase click-through rates for sale events. However, in the near future, the company plans to get more granular with personalization and targeting.

“We are moving towards creating more dynamic merchandising across channels,” Cooper said. “We’ve done a lot with data and it’s something we’ll continue to leverage. We will continue to look at all the analytics and consumption behavior across channels to perfect the shopping experience.”  

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