Frederick’s: Personas Can Help Lift House File Response Rates

Frederick’s of Hollywood is a women’s apparel retailer with 134 stores, an e-commerce division and a catalog unit that circulates more than 20 million books per year.

But it’s unique among multichannel retailers in that there’s no a tug-of-war between divisions over who should get credit for the sale.

It’s secret? Tracy Rhyan, director of multichannel marketing for Frederick’s, said it has to do with reaching customers they way they want to be reached, and not trying to force them to shop a channel they aren’t interested in.

“We recognize that our customer is going to shop when and where she chooses,” Rhyan said during a session at ACCM last month. “Our role is to provide her with the most response generating media when she prefers, offer her what products most compel her to buy, and the most cost effective solution to bring her back again.”

And by recognizing its customer’s behaviors and using persona-based marketing, Frederick’s has been able to evolve its circulation and contact strategy, which Rhyan said has improved its bottom line and set the stage for future growth.

One way it has done that is with enhanced house file segmentation. By looking at the way its customers pay for its purchases and what channel they prefer to use, Rhyan said they have seen a 10% to 15% range in house file segment lifts.

Frederick’s has also broken its house file into five personas – or customer characteristics. Within those personas, they have been able to determine which customers are loyalists, seasonal buyers, sale or clearance buyers, and new to the file. This also helps the firm define who to mail, who to suppress and who to promote with discount offers.

The personas have also helped it define products to upsell and cross-sell, who to mail or reactivate based on product mix, and who to prospect. And Rhyan said that has helped Frederick’s see a 10% to 20% increase in house and prospect file response.

Rhyan joked that Frederick’s brought the world the push-up bra.

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