RetentionGrid is now AVARI. Read more about how we’ve grown in Our Story: From RetentionGrid to AVARI.
From selling sunglasses at swap meets during college to running a lucrative international business, ZeroUV Co-Founder, Brian Fujita, has plenty of expert tips when it comes to growing your ecommerce shop. We sat down with Brian to talk about the importance of selling a lifestyle, his customer retention best practices, and how RetentionGrid helped ZeroUV earn an additional $30,000 in revenue in the last six months.
Can you tell us the story of ZeroUV? How did you get started?
ZeroUV started eleven years ago. In college, a group of my buddies and I began selling sunglasses at swap meets. We’d go down to the fashion district in LA and look for something affordable and easy to stock, and eyewear seemed to be a universal thing to sell.
After a year or so the trend caught on - it was right about the time that Oakley was the big deal with their masculine sports style. The competition started to get steep in Southern California. One of our founders was tech savvy and we decided to launch on Ebay. From there it picked up exponentially and never stopped. After Ebay we jumped on Amazon, which wasn’t what it is today, and we sourced different marketplaces like Etsy and Buy.com. That eventually became over-saturated and we wanted to take more control of inventory and price, so we started opening up our own websites.
We have a passion for fashion. The ZeroUV website is an outlet to express who we are as a company in California and to show what eyewear means in SoCal. Anything you make, there will be other people doing it, so you need to tell your story and why you believe in it.
California is more than a place, it is a way to live, especially for our foreign customers who know it through reputation. When our customers wear our glasses, they wear a part of the lifestyle we represent. They want to be part of our story.
How do you acquire new customers?
Social media is our number one referral source - mostly Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We also use fashion retail hubs like Pinterest and Polyvore. Instagram is amazing - it is amazing how people communicate through photography. You put up a photo and people react to it and identify with you, and start talking to you like they know you. We do polls on Facebook and on Instagram about whether we should do a style, yes or no. Our marketing team has favorite people who interact often, and perhaps they have never bought our sunglasses, but eventually they will. These people want to identify with the California lifestyle. People look at our relaxed vibe and realize we are regular people.
Once You Get Someone In the Door How Do You Keep Them?
Like most ecommerce shops, the majority of our customers are new customers, and we focus on building a relationship to keep customers loyal. We try to offer a personal touch early in the process using both social media and email marketing. If a customer purchases a pair of glasses and they interact with us on social media channels, we will thank them through that channel. If they aren’t highly engaged through those channels, we will send a personalized thank you email and invite them to connect to our different social networks.
Being able to segment our customers and figure out their place in the buying lifecycle has been super useful in our marketing efforts, especially when targeting our loyal customers and coupon clippers.
Can you share some of your best practices when targeting loyal customers?
We’ve learned that, when it comes to communication, there are selling moments and branding moments. We have the ability to reach out to our most loyal customers and ask them what they want to see from us in the future. We track this information and, if we do in fact produce their suggestion, we will acknowledge them, thank them, and sometimes even send samples. It is a great way to continue to keep our most loyal customers engaged.
What segments have you had the most success targeting?
I love the concept of segmentation. It eases the process for shop owners and marketers who have a lot on their plates. RetentionGrid makes it quick and easy to create campaigns and allows us to concentrate on different groups intimately and offer unique incentives. We were extremely surprised at the number of people who came back to use the special code that we included in the first campaign. That was amazing - we were hooked.
"RetentionGrid [...] is great because our customers don’t get spammed and it really adds to our bottom line."
Recently we send an email to the Coupon Clippers, which are our customers who have used coupons in the past. We offered them a special 10% off code. The results were great. 42% Of the Coupon Clippers opened the email and over 2% made purchases.
RetentionGrid helps us send the right message at the right time, so we can target customers when they are most likely to buy. It is great because our customers don’t get spammed and it really adds to our bottom line. Our average open rate is at 24% and the average revenue from each email is over $1,000. The most successful campaigns we’ve sent have brought it close to $5,000!
What are your plans to increase customer retention in the future?
Customer retention is one of our marketing team’s main focus for this quarter, and we plan to experiment more with segmentation, especially with the tagging feature.
60% of our customers are overseas, and almost one third of our sales come from South America. We also are seeing an increase in sales in Spain, France, and Germany. RetentionGrid allows us to categorize our customers by countries, so we could send hyper-targeted emails.
We are also focusing on segmenting based on mobile buyers, since between 15-20% of our sales come from customers purchasing on their phones. We’re looking into the possibility of tagging all mobile users, so we can target them specifically with responsive email campaigns.
While we are always looking for ways to reach new customers, we know the return customers are the core of any ecommerce business if you know how to target them. Our RetentionGrid campaigns have brought in over $30,000 in the last six months alone!