Webinar: DAVIDsTEA & Donald J Pliner Share Their 2016 Road-Map

March 29, 2016

Marketing Leaders from DAVIDsTEA & Donald J Pliner share their 2015 Successes, Lessons, & 2016 Road-Map


In January, we had 150+ retail leaders share their 2015 experiences & 2016 priorities in our 3rd Annual Retail Marketing Survey. In this webinar, our panelists share their experiences & goals, providing us valuable insights into how they understand their customers & are growing their business.

 Meeting the Webinar Panel


mobile-logo Amy Larson - VP eCommerce and Marketing


DavidsTea_Logo     Nathalie Tremblay - Head of Digital Marketing & eCommerce 


imagesEd Matibag – Sr. Solutions Consultant (Fun Fact: Ed used AgilOne as Dir. Marketing at eCost.com before joining the team)



Topic 1: Lessons from 2015 & Priorities for 2016

We saw many retailers decreasing spend on physical channels in favor of digital channels. We predict we'll continue to see declines in physical channels due to ROI in digital marketing efforts. We suspect direct mail to level out though, as marketers leverage its ability to cut through the noise.

For Amy & Nathalie - what were your top investments in 2015 & priorities in 2016 around marketing, channels, technology, and how you see the future of direct mail?


  • Donald J Pliner is aligned in that digital investment is where the ROI & budget are.
  • Top focus continue to be email & search - exploring more sophisticated top-of-funnel efforts.
  • Seeing a lot of success with display re-targeting and investing into social channel to re-brand & acquire high pLTV customers. PR & social 'influencer' strategy is very important in 2016.
  • Direct Mail goal for 2016 is around refining strategy and optimizing content - being more targeted & meaningful with efforts.


  • 2015 was all about doing a health check on their foundation (since they are growing rapidly and just IPO'ed) so they can support scaling their growth - focused on best practices and technology infrastructure - looked at entire eCommerce ecosystem.
  • In the 2nd half of 2015 they focused on BI & data which is where they partnered with AgilOne and added the CRM piece.
  • 2016 is going to be scaling and increasing agility around everything SEM, digital marketing, display ads, re-targeting, social, etc.
  • Email campaigns is 2nd primary source in eCommerce at DAVIDsTEA

Topic 2: Using Customer Data for Smart Campaigns

We see consistent increases in adoption of more sophisticated, triggered campaigns and we believe we will continue to see retailers invest in becoming more personalized & targeted.

For Amy & Nathalie - what were your most successful personalized campaigns from 2015 and how you plan to take customer data driven marketing efforts to the next level in 2016?


  • Type of personalization in 2015 has been: transaction, gender, and other various categories.
  • Looking 2016, adding in demographics and clusters to ensure that customers see from the brand what will resonate (all based on what they did in the past and using data to predict the future).
  • Using AgilOne data in direct-mail, they understand past category buyers and offer them specific content that's based off purchase behavior
  • For 2016, leveraging demographic data to AgilOne can determine what additional segmentation is available early stages to help guide customers between online & store.
  • Leveraging behavioral, category, browse, recency, and frequency to move new customers  up the loyalty ladder from 1x buyers to a loyalist over time.


  • Starting 2015, when they first got a hold of their customer profiles, put together a segmentation and targeting strategy - took the risk of not emailing the entire base with every launch product and promotion.
  • In Q4, They did an exclusive sale to VIPs (they used predictive modeling) 4 days before their annual "Advent Calendar" launch to see if their sale potential model was accurate and drive loyalty. Results: 60% open rate & 30% conversion rate on the product and sold out on the first day, gave them the idea to sell more & build more.
  • On the Monday after daylight savings - "Spring Forward" - sent out targeted email to customers that had purchased wellness teas & high propensity-to-buy with a special "hang-over" type offer. Results: 60% open rate & 200% more sales from an email than on a normal day.
  • Facebook re-targeting and ad words using AgilOne as a CRM tool as well as  propensity-to-buy and look-a-like-audiences to increase ROI on their customers.

Ed, in your background as a marketing leader, with AgilOne clients, and experience in the field what quick wins & first steps into data driven marketing would you recommend?

  • Targeted marketing doesn't need to be huge production! You can start small in terms of your content. The biggest impacts are life-cycle campaigns around abandoned browse, cart, and from that point they can go for VIP programs.
  • VIP Programs - try multi-touch "thank yous"!  AgilOne can ID VIP customers quickly, after doing an email campaign, follow it up with Direct Mail or a Phone call - he did that at eCost.com and every time they did, they say 10% conversion rate on that within 2 weeks after.
  • Lapsed customers - focus on campaigns that prevent customer from lapsing is beneficial and easy once you can easy get a list of those customers.

Topic 3: Acquisition and Retention

Retailers are getting more advanced & data driven with how they are acquiring & retaining customers – relying on predictive analytics and sophisticated models.

For Amy & Nathalie - How are you approaching acquisition & retention? What models (like the ones pictured here) do you see most valuable to understanding your customers & being personalized in your campaigns?


  • Donald J Pliner started doing direct mail prospecting using a couple different models to determine if potential prospects will grow into high LTV buyers.
  • Acquisition has been most successful when using look a like modeling based on best customers and have been going to new audiences with evergreen full messages in social so they are looking not at promotions but on the full products constant stream of new customer coming into the fold.
  • They have just started using propensity-to-buy in campaigns to optimize margin by focusing on top tier customers.
  • They are setting up abandoned browse & cart campaigns with AgilOne using models like pLTV, which is important in helping them spend their efforts developing loyalty - not just sales.


  • They have many different types of customers coming for: daily drinkers (who visit the local store to get their daily tea), loose leaves, and gifts - so they have to approach acquisition & retention with that in mind. When customers come in, they do try up-sell, cross-sell and help customers move between those inner personas. If they do not move though, they want to understand & continue to promote loyalty to those existing relationships - taking it campaign by campaign.
  • With AgilOne, they learned that if a new customer doesn't buy within the next 30 days, they are less likely to come back. So DAVIDsTEA wants to understand how to best engage that customer & drive that 2nd sale within that time frame to develop a loyal customer.
  • With CAN-SPAM and respecting customer's inboxes, they engage customers with other methods like  Facebook re-targeting or in-store.
  • For them, the most valuable models are propensity-to-buy and cross-channel engagement in order to learn what the best channels the customer wants to be contacted or purchase.

Ed - what are the best retention building campaigns/models you are seeing in the field?

  • Likelihood- to-buy (LTB) helps define retention strategies and, with AgilOne, you can overlay LTB with behavior & product clusters for acquisition.
  • pLTV help you understand how to get those 1x buyers that provide the most value buy again & develop a lasting relationship.

Topic 4: Greatest Challenges & Looking at 2016 (Ft. Mobile)

Many marketers have Omni-channel strategy, clean data, a single view of their customers, aligned channels & solutions on their road-map for 2016. With AgilOne, many of these challenges are solved.

What have been your greatest challenges in being more Omni-channel in the past? What are you excited to address in 2016? Hot Topic: any plans or insights on the state of mobile?


  • Omni-channel is important (and a buzzword we are all paying attention too!), with only have 6 stores, one piece they are working on is helping customers buy online & return or pick up in-store. Making it easier for customers to shop.
  • They currently do clienteling in-store and also call customers to provide that top their buying experiences and geographical customer data they can take that to the next level.
  • Mobile is critical they are trying  to provide delightful customer experience - they are thrilled to be launching a new mobile site in early April that will help customers to further browse online, shop in-store and discover more about the brand.



  • DAVIDsTEA has grown fast! With 193 stores, they focus on stabilizing their foundation
  • They are focused on making emails driving store visits relevant & meaningful to the customers.
  • Mobile - last year they invested in a mobile responsive site and have seen tremendous improvements in conversion rate over 50% on certain marketing and devices. The goal is to leverage mobile as that channel to bridge the gap between store & online experiences.

Ed - 3 Steps for any retailer wanting to become more omni-channel

  1. Ensure all your customer data (touch-points) is in a centralize location
  2. Make sure your content capability to execute what the marketing team wants to do matches as bandwidth is a common challenge for many retailers.
  3. CRUCIAL! All your customer data needs to be in one place and clean - you need to understand how your customers are interacting with a whole view of your brand to be most effective.


Webinar Wrap Up


Donald J Pliner has a friends & family event coming up in April (along with their new mobile site) so if you've been considering new shoes, take advantage of that promotion coming up! Amy also stresses how key CRM is for retailers - having customer data in single location. With customers having access to pricing, many options, and research, it is crucial for brands to focus on the customer data you do have and leverage it to build loyalty. Visit their site here.


Iced Tea Press new release coming in California stores & web! You can brew ice tea directly from your mug. Nathalie's team was able to approach the marketing, product launch, and segment example of their product conception to segment this is an omni-marketing campaign. They have 7 stores in the Bay Area & 3 store in LA, check your closest store! Visit their site here.



Have any questions or looking to add these best practices in your business? Email us at marketers@agilone.com to be connected with our consultants OR click here to get a demo.