Serena & Lily Boosts Revenue With Behavior-Based Email Targeting

Like many retailers, Serena & Lily wanted to know more about its customers: how they were acquired, what they bought — and what might entice them to buy again. But while the bedding and home furnishings retailer had a wealth of customer contact information stored in a single system, the information wasn’t organized in an analytics- or marketing-friendly fashion.

“We were fortunate that all the customer data from our channels, which include online and our 10 brick-and-mortar stores, all ‘lived’ in one system,” said Carla Rummo, SVP of Customer Relationship Marketing and E-Commerce, describing Serena & Lily’s previous system. “However, in part because the system didn’t do a very good job of deduplicating customer records, we couldn’t even rely on it to tell us exactly how many customers we had. Additionally, we couldn’t export lists from the system; we couldn’t say, ‘Give me a list of everyone who ordered this much and lives in these zip codes.”

This situation changed when Serena & Lily adopted the AgilOne solution in 2017. “We were able to have much more confidence about how many customers we had, as well as how they came into the brand,” said Rummo in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “That insight helped us to really aggressively invest in marketing, which has been a key part of our growth.”


For reminder emails sent near the end of a promotional period, Serena & Lily was able to narrow its distribution list based on recipients’ online activity. “We had real-time information from AgilOne so we were able to send emails only to people who were browsing the [promoted] category,” said Rummo. “That meant the per-email revenue was higher, and we also were able to cut out the less productive emails that potentially would prompt a customer to unsubscribe.”

Eliminating Email Redundancies Aids Customer Data Analysis

The solution helps Serena & Lily target customers more accurately in other ways. The AgilOne Identity Resolution Engine is designed to enable highly sophisticated direct mail attribution via “fuzzy deduplication”: while the name and address of the recipient and the buyer might not match exactly, the AgilOne solution identifies that it’s the same person, allowing Serena & Lily to more accurately attribute revenue for its direct mail campaigns.

At Serena & Lily, interest in the nitty-gritty of customer acquisition and retention comes from the top. “Our CEO, Lori Greeley, is also our head merchant, and she is definitely very interested in looking at our business through a customer lens,” said Rummo. “We want to be aware of what our acquisition costs are. We’re curious about which products acquire customers, and which ones get customers to purchase again.

“It’s an ever-evolving journey to understand attribution,” Rummo added. “We look at the data and segment customers, and then measure the lift from A/B tests. We would love to also get psychographic information from our customers, but we haven’t figured out a smart way to do this in a quantitative fashion yet.”

Moving forward, Rummo wants to leverage the information that Serena & Lily does have “to do more personalized marketing and promotion overall.” She sees opportunity in incorporating not just browsing activity but also past purchase data into the retailer’s personalization efforts. “It really helps us feel that our marketing is a service and a perk, rather than an annoyance,” Rummo noted. “We also want to be smarter in our segmentation and be able to find more pockets of opportunity.”

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