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CSA Exclusive: Anthropologie digs into roots of event marketing


A trendy lifestyle retailer is ensuring its in-store marketing events make a splash.

Anthropologie, part of the URBN retail group which also includes flagship brand Urban Outfitters, is creating transparency in how it programs and promotes marketing events at its stores. The retailer is leveraging the Splash event marketing platform to obtain insight into the full customer journey to an in-store marketing event, from lead generation to post-event retention.

“We perform event programming across 220 stores,” explained Jessica McGuinn, experiential marketing manager at Anthropologie, during an interview with Chain Store Age. “That includes fashion shows, pop-ups, birthday events, workshops, partnerships, influencer-based activities and dinners, and daylong retreats. We need to connect those campaigns to customers, media, and influencers.”

To that end, Anthropologie decided to replace a previously installed event management platform with Splash.

“The other platform was helpful for in-store RSVP and check-in, but did not offer the same transparency or data capabilities,” said McGuinn. “We now have online RSVP pages. We can track who RSVPs and who actually attends, and how we engage them. We can also track what store, date and time an event will be held, what speakers will be featured, design imagery, whether we charge and if we do whether it is for donation or for profit, if there is a paper ticket or it’s confirmed electronically, and any follow-up messages.”

As an example of how Anthropologie uses Splash, McGuinn cited how the retailer ran a fashion show in March 2019 at 25 stores, with assistance from the solution.
 
“We could accurately monitor the total number of people who sent in an RSVP, showed up, checked in, and opened emails to confirm a purchase during the event time,” said McGuinn. “We took the email addresses of people who registered for the event and shared them with the analytics team to check their spending during the timeframe.”

There are also some impressive metrics that speak to the success of Anthropologie’s technology-enabled event management process. In 2019, the retailer increased foot traffic to its in-store happenings with more than 6,300 attendee check-ins at 665 events, 489 of which were run on Splash. This compares to about 4,500 check-ins at 593 events in 2018, about 440 of which were run on Splash. 

And in the three-month window between September and November 2019, Antrhopologie added more than 3,000 new customers to its email list. This came after the retailer added an event checkout feature for attendees who sent an RSVP, with the opportunity to opt in to receive company communications (such as a newsletter) and join the loyalty program. 

Other features of Anthropologie’s revamped event marketing platform include an external hub page that allows customers to view and search for events by characteristics such as category and location. “It’s a world forward in helping people increase the number of people who click through to RSVP,” commented McGuinn.

Splash also offers an event uploader tool that enables McGuinn and her staff to create a template for an event page that can be uploaded once and modified as needed. “Putting in data and uploading it automatically is a godsend,” McGuinn said. “It saves me hours at a time.”

Looking ahead, McGuinn said Anthropologie may move to connect Splash to its Salesforce system for post-event sharing of data and results. This would also provide Anthropologie with a real-time sales tracker during event windows.

“It wouldn’t necessarily prove all sales are connected, but we could see specific customers and how much time they spent in the shop,” she concluded.





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