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Solving the unsubscribe riddle


Solving the unsubscribe riddle


Campaign: Customer Engagement Overhaul

Client: Fabric.com

Digital Marketing Provider: Silverpop


Fabric.com is the world’s leading online fabric store selling customer-measured fabric. Founded in 1999, it has a loyal customer base of sewing enthusiasts from all over the world. In 2008, Amazon.com bought Fabric.com to expand its selection of sewing and craft products.

Until recently, Fabric.com had a fairly basic email program in place. Emails were sent from an in-house solution to the company’s entire database without customisation or segmentation.

Fabric.com knew that it needed to improve its email marketing strategies urgently. It was failing to communicate with customers in a targeted way and the team could see that this was having a profound effect on its bottom line. “Depending on the type of product being purchased, each type of Fabric.com buyer purchases their products differently, so it was important to take into account individual buyer purchasing behaviours when communicating with them via email,” says Melanie Coombs, email marketing manager, Fabric.com.

It was this realisation that triggered Fabric.com’s comprehensive search of the market for email marketing solutions that would fit its current requirements, but also grow and support the company’s future needs.


The team at Fabric.com knew they needed to move away from the ‘batch and blast’ approach, which was causing issues with email deliverability. They wanted to stay competitive and take communication with customers to a new level, and so turned to an outsourced email marketing solution to overcome two main limitations of the current in-house solution:

  • limited reporting capabilities, and
  • an inability to provide analysis on the success of each email delivery.

As Coombs explains, it was vital for Fabric.com to gain better insight into list maintenance and data reporting analytics to ensure the retailer’s ongoing success. “We needed a solution to ensure we were getting the reporting metrics needed, as well as the ability to track email impact and conversions.”

Fabric.com considered several email solution providers before choosing Silverpop’s Engage solution. “We decided to select Silverpop because of its strong reputation, email industry expertise and its proven success with retail clients,” Coombs says. “Engage would allow us to create constant touch points with our customers and prospects throughout the purchasing life cycle.” This is exactly what Fabric.com needed.


Using Silverpop’s sophisticated email marketing solution, Fabric.com is now able to segment its list into several different groups ranging from its most loyal customers to those considered ‘inactive’. Based on different levels of purchasing behaviour, Fabric.com sends out highly personal and specialised offers. These life cycle emails offer enticing purchase discounts with the goal of keeping loyal customers engaged and renewing relationships with inactive customers.

Fabric.com’s customer life cycle emails include:

  • ‘Happy Anniversary’ emails celebrating the anniversary of a customer’s first purchase with the company
  • ‘Happy Birthday’ emails celebrating a customer’s birth date
  • ‘We Miss You’ emails for those customers that purchased previously, but have not done so in the past year
  • ‘We Want You Back’ emails for those customers that purchased previously, but have not done so in the last 12 to 18 months, and
  • ‘Secret Sale’ emails for all other customers, who do not fit into the above categories, plus all prospects.

In addition to its automated customer life cycle emails, Fabric.com regularly sends out broadcast emails about sales and promotions, new products, sales reminders and ‘Deals of the Day’.

Fabric.com also implemented Coremetrics’ LIVEmail integration with Engage to send out two different series of triggered emails. The first automated campaign is a cart abandonment series. Sent to people who abandoned their shopping carts within the last two days, it includes a strong one-click call to action for recipients to return to their carts. The second automated campaign is a two-week follow-up on those customers that bought a swatch and have not made a purchase yet. It creates a sense of urgency by reminding recipients that the fabric they were interested in may not be in stock much longer. “We decided to integrate Coremetrics’ LIVEmail and Silverpop’s Engage because we saw an opportunity to further engage with our customers and drive additional revenue,” says Coombs.

Finally, Fabric.com developed a robust preference centre to help ensure customers only receive relevant content in their emails. When consumers sign up for email, they are asked about the types of emails they would like to receive (‘Deals and Steals’, ‘Just Arrived’ and ‘Deal of the Day’), as well as other questions such as their birthday, types of sewing preferred and sewing expertise level. Fabric.com even includes a reminder for subscribers to add its email address to their contacts or address book, which most companies only do within their mailings.


Once Fabric.com had spent some time learning about the various email marketing solutions available today, it quickly made its decision to partner with Silverpop. Silverpop’s extensive experience working with a broad range of retailers worldwide and the Engage solution’s flexibility and level of sophistication were a powerful combination that couldn’t be superseded.

Within weeks of implementing its new email marketing solution Fabric.com was reaping the rewards of a much more sophisticated, automated solution that was directly impacting the business bottom line.


Fabric.com’s automated life cycle marketing emails did so well, Fabric.com decided to make them a regular part of its email strategy. “We are very pleased with the results of our customer life cycle email campaigns,” says Coombs. “These automated life cycle campaigns more than doubled open and click-through rates and increased conversion by more than 40 percent.”

For Fabric.com, one of the benefits of implementing triggered campaigns is that they can help bring in a steady revenue stream throughout the week and generate orders on a more even basis to help with warehouse workflow. “Our automated campaigns enable us to plan better,” Coombs says. “They allow us to accomplish a lot in the most hands-off manner possible. The power we have with Silverpop is fantastic.”

Much of Fabric.com’s success is a result of its best practice approach to segmentation and list maintenance, which all starts with its preference centre. Understanding the preferences of its customer at a detailed level has helped the company send consistently relevant messages. As a result, Fabric.com has halved the number of opt-outs on its email.

Fabric.com has also had success with its cart abandonment series using Silverpop Engage and a Coremetrics LIVEmail integration to alert shoppers when they have left an item in the shopping cart. “Our cart abandonment campaign showed positive results immediately,” says Coombs. “In fact, within the first week, our results showed that our average order size has increased by 20 percent on cart abandonment emails.”


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