Dormify Cracks Millennial Code, Gaining 92% Revenue Boost From Targeted Email Marketing

With a consumer base largely consisting of young adults moving into a college dorm or first apartment, online home décor retailer Dormify needs to ensure that its marketing messages are heard loud and clear.

A recent Principal Financial Group study indicated that emails are Millennials’ favorite method of contact with retailers. To make a relevant connection with these consumers, Dormify turned to email marketing automation platform dotmailer to maximize the impact of its communications among the young demographic, increasing revenue from email marketing by 92%.

Within one year of crafting personalized emails through dotmailer, Dormify experienced:


  • A conversion rate from its email audience that is twice that of the average site visitor;

  • 28% of total email marketing revenue from customized, triggered emails; and

  • 22% of total email marketing revenue from its automated welcome program.

On top of these results, visitors that came to the web site through email campaigns stayed 42% longer and viewed 20% more pages than any other visitors.

Prior to enlisting the services of dotmailer, the Dormify team hadn’t yet built out targeted email marketing efforts. The retailer relied on a “batch-and-blast” approach sent several times per week, rather than focusing on where potential consumers stood in the shopping lifecycle.

“We set out from the beginning to create interesting, relevant content for our customers to learn from and take them where they need to go next within the shopping experience,” said Nicole Gardner, COO at Dormify. “When we started, we didn’t have the most sophisticated email strategy. We were sending out a lot of content that was fun and creative, but we weren’t targeting that to specific people and audiences.”

Catering To Younger Audiences Via Mobile, Content-Oriented Campaigns

Since the Dormify team didn’t have a dedicated email marketing specialist on hand, the dotmailer platform’s easy-to-use interface was vital to getting its email campaigns off the ground efficiently, especially mobile-responsive campaigns.

“Our audience is a younger demographic, so they’re living on their phones,” Gardner said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The only way that they’re going to read an email a lot of times is if they’re looking at it on their phone. Automated campaigns created a huge impact for us with very little manpower necessary. We have triggered campaigns that are part of a welcome series, in which tailored emails are sent to new subscribers introducing them to Dormify and incentivizing them to shop.”

This automated “welcome series” includes three separate emails:

  • The first includes a dynamic coupon code and a general welcome message, with tailored content depending on where the subscriber signs up;

  • The second explains Dormify in greater detail; and

  • The third serves as a reminder and follow-up that includes a social call to action.

Content Includes Advice For The College-Bound

As part of the new campaign, Dormify shifted its focus to more content-oriented communication. Within emails, the retailer now includes resource guides such as “Counting Down To College,” sharing relevant information with potential consumers that could further add value to the purchase and perhaps build further engagement.

“A little bit of that does come down to the brand and creative,” Gardner said. “We built a brand that’s fun, exciting and dynamic, and we try to have fun with what we do. Incorporating pop culture references and song lyrics catches this audience’s eye a little bit because it’s sometimes unexpected and fun. We’re careful not to be too cheesy with the messaging, so we use focus groups and people on our own staff that are younger and closer to the college audience to circulate ideas with.”

The engagement goes beyond the initial interaction and even continues after the purchase (or in some cases after a non-purchase). After a successful purchase, campaigns have encouraged buyers to share their purchases via social media. But Dormify also established an abandoned cart program, designed to drive incremental revenue by sending emails over a 120-hour period to customers who leave the site with something in their cart.

“Shopping cart abandonment emails have been helpful in recovering potentially lost revenue, or even just to nudge a shopper that might have been looking on the site for a while without making a purchase,” Gardner stated. “We try not to be too aggressive with it, but we keep the messaging fun and light as a reminder. For example, a subject line in a message can say ‘Life’s too short for regrets,’ which can encourage the customers to come back. We’ve seen that to be very successful in terms of just offering that reminder.”



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