July 20, 2021

Case Study: Coopers Of Stortford

Angus Quinn
Case Study

Key Numbers:

28% Increase In Clicks Q4 2020-Q1 2021 | 32% Increase In Sales Revenue Q3 2020-Q4 2020 | 300% Increase In Orders Q4 2019 v Q4 2020

At the heart of Bishop’s Stortford for generations, traditional home & garden business Coopers of Stortford is now rapidly diversifying its mail order catalogue business across digital channels. We sat down with Coopers of Stortford Head of Digital Kevin Babbage to talk about approaching the digital challenge, Coopers’ Performance Marketing Strategy and the role Connexity plays in achieving the business’ ambitious goals.

Coopers of Stortford is going through a digital evolution right now, tell me about that?

Initially Coopers of Stortford was a local home and garden shop, then twenty years ago it developed its own mail order catalogue and ten years ago it went further, launching an online website to support ecommerce.

When I joined, online was about a quarter of turnover and now that is up to 32%, and it is a shift that we’ve seen happening in the last five years, with clear acceleration in the last two. The pandemic has also forced people online and currently we’re forecasting 35% share for digital by the end of 2021. We’re on track to do that and our goal is to get to 50% digital in three year’s time.

Thinking about your performance marketing strategy, what are your goals and what are the challenges you have?

With digital channels our goal is for those channels to acquire their own customers, rather than transfer mail order customers. Although we only sell to customers over the age of 50, in ten years time people in their fifties and older will be quite digitally orientated and tech savvy so we have to shift our customer acquisition strategy to reflect that.

For our paid advertising we know what return on ad spend (ROAS) we need to run at, to achieve a baseline profit, which is slightly above breakeven. So although all our paid advertising has to be profitable, each channel can run at a break even.

But we also look at each channel with regard to its new-to-file % and actually that’s the more accurate figure we look to achieve. We want each digital channel to be giving us consistently 70-75% new-to-file customers, so we measure that every month and then on top we look at the ROAS we achieve.

Why did you choose Connexity to support you on this?

So a key criteria for us is having a partner who will develop the account with us. We don’t have a large enough internal team to run every single digital channel ourselves, so it makes sense for some channels to partner or share that with a company who work for us and who we can lean on for expert advice. Connexity gave us inroads into marketing on Shopzilla, but we’re also able to learn from your best practices and achieve the KPIs we want to.

You’re very open to experimenting and using the different traffic sources Connexity offers. Tell me about that.

Before I joined, Coopers did not really have an online marketing individual or sales orientated person to look at digital channels. I’ve gradually built up our team in the years since and my remit is to drive the business forwards in terms of online share of revenue. I look at additional digital revenue channels and test them over a period of three months or so. If something is working, driving good results and has achieved our ROAS and new acquisition KPIS I’m going to advocate trying more of it.

And what role does Connexity play in your Performance Marketing Strategy today? 

Primarily our involvement with Connexity comes from sales driven by Shopzilla and we’re about to add on the remarketing process. I’m looking to drive sales further and I do need Connexity to keep the new-to-file business as high as it can.

And how have your results been working with Connexity?

Whatever the economy chooses to do, with Connexity and the results are consistent and reliable. Unlike other digital channels, it is not overtly volatile and because of that we get a consistently good ROAS and new-to-file ratio. Our more recent conversations are now about how we can push further, to a) gain more traction in terms of sales and therefore b) how do we acquire more customers.

The long term path is an upwards trajectory for sure. We’re open to be involved with any BETA testing programs and remarketing is going to be our next step. Whenever possible we’re open for Connexity to try new things with our account and the budget is there on our side to do that.

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