At the beginning of 2019, Rag & Bone struck a partnership with BounceX to conquer the world of digital direct-to-consumer commerce. Competing with brands that are inherently digital-first provided the challenges when the cost of “digital rent” continues to rise and consumer favor often shines on start-up brands with lower price points.
In conversation, Aaron Detrick, vice president of digital at Rag & Bone, told WWD it is becoming more challenging than ever to attract customers while maintaining current customers and convert online shoppers.
“It is the culmination of more and more DTC companies and the expansion of these different marketplaces that create these challenges. And on top of that, you have digital rent, which just keeps rising. The Facebooks of the world and the Googles of the world, they just keep raising the cost,” said Detrick. “And you’re going up against companies who are operating in an online space against companies who were built on digitally first tools [who] can pivot their operating model, teams, and resources is at a much higher quip. It really is the most competitive marketplace, I’ve ever operated in.”
Detrick said when he started his role at Rag & Bone, just under a year ago, he noticed straight away that the company was under indexing its e-mail channel. “And where we were under indexing the most was our behavioral and triggered e-mail side of that channel. And that’s a really good channel that can help you use the traffic you already have much more efficiently already.”
Identifying already interested consumers saves a company from having to fight companies for consumers in the vast expanse of the internet. “You can just use the people you already have more intelligently, be more personal and create a more thoughtful experience. That’s where we turned to BounceX,” said Detrick.
Since coming together with BounceX, Rag & Bone cites an increase of 4.4 times the identification rate and 6.6 times increase in triggered email revenue. Further, 7.27 percent of total Rag & Bone’s digital revenue is driven by BounceX.
“The biggest challenge that [Rag & Bone] came to us with was that they were really struggling to scale their program because they could really only identify around 5 percent of the people that were visiting their site to be able to message them after,” said Kim Sivillo, president of BounceX. “The BounceX technology allows us to be able to take the data that [Rag & Bone] already had and were struggling to connect the dots with and scale that program.”
According to Sivillo, the relationship between BounceX and Rag & Bone is a true partnership where both teams are open to experimenting and change.
“What we love about Rag & Bone, from a BounceX perspective, is they are incredibly open to testing,” said Sivillo. “They want to learn and try new things. And as a luxury client, it is very refreshing that they are open to stepping outside what are the typical binds that a luxury client might have. They have really embraced what I think should be the present and will be the future of luxury marketing.”
While luxury brands continue to find profit in wholesale, Sivillo and Detrick agreed that with the competition of start-up DTC brands prevailing companies need to grow to stay ahead.
“So many luxury clients are wholesale, and when you have these DTC brands or insta-brands, they are digitally native, coming up out of nowhere, they have a very low customer acquisition cost and so companies like Rag & Bone need to rethink their strategy,” said Sivillo.
Detrick said wholesale does remain a very important channel for Rag & Bone, one he says is still a great place for people to discover the brand, however, he said there is “no question of the value that direct to consumer plays where you have the opportunity to own your own experience, own the relationship and own the data.”
Rag & Bone has started using other technologies in tandem with BounceX as well. “We’ve invested in things like a customer data platform which will help us have a much richer view into our consumer,” said Detrick. “You have to reset foundation, but we’re looking at it across all aspects of DTC to help move us into this next phase.”
Luxury brands, Sivillo said, often have a hard time accepting technology. “The majority of customers now are digital-first, so embracing what has been a struggle with luxury clients is believing that and embracing that and recognizing that you can speak to your customers digitally in a very professional, respectful way,” said Sivillo. “I think that is something that BounceX does very well. We go down to the deepest level that we can in terms of personalization without disrespecting anyone’s PII.”
Across the board in retail in general Sivillo said everyone is really facing the same challenges: brands and retailers looking to scale programs by using the data they already have in an intelligent way. What is important in investing in technology she told WWD is to find a real collaboration with partners who understand the brand.
For More WWD News: