RetentionGrid is now AVARI. Read more about how we’ve grown in Our Story: From RetentionGrid to AVARI.
Many of our customers have compelling stories, but we were blown away when we heard about the origins of Alial Fital. Former NFL Quarterback Gibran Hamdan retired after a 6 year career, took up sewing, and launched a lucrative men’s polo shirt ecommerce business.
In addition to his founding story, Gibran’s customer retention rate is truly inspiring. We spoke with him about how treating his customers like family creates customer loyalty, and discussed his lifecycle marketing best practices.
Tell us the story of Alial Fital. How did you go from NFL to sewing machine?
I started Alial Fital a little over three years ago. Previously, I was a quarterback in the NFL. I had always been on the lookout for a dress shirt with the comfort of a polo, but could never find one. My wife had a sewing machine lying around, so I taught myself to sew and created the first samples. From there, I found a company in Los Angeles to produce the clothing, learned to build a website and taught myself business from scratch. We got a lucky break during our first year. A pro golfer, Bo Van Pelt, was buying a lot of our shirts, and he expressed interest in a sponsorship. We jumped on the opportunity, our Golf specific line was born, and Alial Fital began to receive a lot of attention.
Your customer retention rate is amazing, with 43% of customers returning to make a second purchase! Can you share your best practices for customer retention?
My most important practice is putting my relationship with customers over profits. For a small retailer like me, marketing is a one-on-one proposition; it really comes down to taking care of your customers individually. I don’t have the budget or manpower to reach as many people as the bigger brands do, but my skills and talent lie in building relationships. Every time that a customer makes a buying decision, he knows that he is dealing with me personally. It helps promote the brand, strengthens the community and builds trust. My customers know that I am always going to take care of them.
Honestly, my customers are like family - it is as simple as that. As soon as they order, I personally send each one a handwritten thank you note. It is not always easy. Sometimes I’m swamped and writing forty thank yous in a day. But if your Mom or Dad ordered a product from you, you would throw in a nice note or a new product to try out, right? You should be less worried about the balance sheet and more concerned about fostering positive relationships.
Every part of the process is personal, including the marketing messaging.
The emails you send are great - very personal and specific to the particular segment. They also generate high percentages of your orders. Can you share your thinking behind your email strategy and your success?
The ability to target individual customers and create personal messages is a huge value add and part of the reason that we love RetentionGrid. We recently created an email campaign for new customers. The message was welcoming, included with a great discount, and resulted in a 9.8% order rate. You can check out that email:
Subject Line: A Note from the CEO
First I wanted to take a moment to thank you very much for placing your first order with us this past month. I’ve been working on building a brand for the last 2 ½ years that not only I can be proud of, but that welcomes new customers the way I would want to be welcomed.
On that note I hope the product matched your expectations and that you feel you were treated as if you were part of the Alial Fital family. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally at [email protected] if you need anything! I love & welcome all feedback, both positive and negative.
In the hopes of capturing some of the excitement you may have with your new dress polo I’m including a 20% discount off of any new order before Nov 22nd with the discount code CEO20.
Wishing you and yours all the best,
You’ve done an amazing job targeting different segments. Can you tell us how you select segments and a bit about the message you send them?
I use RetentionGrid to supplement my weekly newsletter. I’m cognizant of avoiding too much communication; you would never want to spam your family. Each week I choose a new segment, analyze the customers in this group, and figure out what I can do to encourage them to come back and make another purchase.
I love how the color coded segments make it easy to see where customers are in the lifecycle.
The email prompts that RetentionGrid provides for each customer segment have been extremely valuable - they serve as a great guideline for content creation. For someone like me, with limited amounts of time, to receive ideas of what to write and when to send it, as well as ways to optimize the value for the end user, has had a positive impact on our customer loyalty.
I love how the color coded segments make it easy to see where customers are in the lifecycle. It is very simple and helps me get the right message to the right customers and the right time, while not getting bogged down with extra information.
What is next for Alial Fital?
We are launching pants in the next week*, which is going to be a big thing! It is crazy to think that we started with just shirts and now we are moving into pants, hats and zip-ups. We’ve been fortunate, thanks to good partners and incredible customers, and of course we plan to continue to increase our customer loyalty.
*While writing this success story, Alial Fital launched their new pants line.