The Monetate Success Team sat down with Michael Stearns, Tea Collection’s E-Commerce Manager,  to talk about his experiences with Monetate.

Access Tea Collection: Brewing Up Unique Email & Social Campaings.

The Challenge of Growing, Growing, Growing

Tea Collection never had a formal approach to testing. In fact, the company would frequently conduct some minor user testing on a feature, and then implement it if the results seemed positive. “We didn’t have a true A/B testing platform, so we couldn’t see what was working and what wasn’t,” Stearns says. “It was more of us talking ideas out among ourselves instead of turning to our customers.”

With great growth comes challenges, and as Tea Collection generated more customers and clicks, it became harder to figure out what visitors wanted during their website experience.

“When you start reaching into new markets and new customers, it’s harder to know exactly who you are talking to,” Stearns says. “We needed a solution to help us simply and quickly implement these testing efforts, so that’s why we chose Monetate.”

Tea Collection works with Monetate to execute marketing campaigns quickly and easily, as well as see results from those efforts. “As we’re planning for our campaigns, or just general strategic growth, we think of Monetate as more of a partner than just a tool,” Stearns says. “Now, when we develop a holiday campaign, for example, we ask ourselves how Monetate can help us make those plans even better before we run the campaign.”

And that mindset really helped the company when it launched a new email acquisition campaign.

A Unique Effort Combining Email and Social

When Tea Collection wanted to ramp up its email acquisition efforts, the retailer decided to test lightboxes on its home page. And there was another twist. Tea Collection has a robust Facebook community of more than 60,000 fans who post pictures of their children outfitted in the company’s unique clothes.

“We were originally just going to do a basic lightbox that asked visitors to sign up for our email,” Stearns says. “But over time, that idea evolved with different messaging. For us, getting a user on our email list or getting someone to like us on Facebook is very valuable. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.”

The company didn’t want to let its engaged social network presence fall to the wayside, since there might be an opportunity to grow that, too. Tea Collection conducted a three-way split test of different lightbox creative. During the test, one group of visitors saw no lightbox at all when they visited the website. The second group of visitors saw a lightbox asking for their email address, and the third group saw a lightbox asking for their email and suggesting they “Like” Tea Collection on Facebook. And the results were surprising.

Tea Collection saw an 8% lift in conversions for visitors who saw the lightbox versus those who saw no lightbox at all, and a 4% higher conversion rate for visitors who saw the email lightbox that also promoted the company’s Facebook page.

“We really wanted to find out whether promoting our social presence was going to help or hurt our email capture efforts,” Stearns says. “Distracting a visitor is always a concern when you’re trying to get a user’s attention, or telling them to leave your website and go somewhere else, so we wanted to be sure it made sense. And it did.”

Tea Collection is now capturing more email addresses, boosting the number of likes within its Facebook community, and discovering new ways to reach prospects and loyal customers.

“It’s pretty cool to see what our visitors really want to do and understand how they are behaving,” Stearns says. “Also, it allows us to customize our messages to these different groups and people. In the future, I’m sure we’ll start doing more targeted offers specifically for our email list and our Facebook fans.”

Continued Growth, Effective Promotions

Beyond the success of the email lightbox campaign, Tea Collection is moving full-speed ahead with new website optimization campaigns to further other marketing efforts.

“The next step for us is a little more personalization and geotargeting,” Stearns says. “We’re able to understand our customers better now and target certain messages or products to them, so the next phase will be using that to serve the most relevant content we can.”

As the company continues to grow, it hopes to better understand its loyal customers and new prospects. And now, testing is now at the forefront of the company’s marketing mission, helping make Tea Collection’s website as unique as its customers.

“Without a tool like Monetate, we wouldn’t have the resources to test and learn on our website,” Stearns says. “It’s so easy to use and the impact is huge. Monetate allows us to make our promotions effective.”


About Tea Collection
Twice a year, designers from the the globally-inspired children’s and women’s clothing company Tea Collection head to a different part of the world, immersing themselves in the culture of the destination. The company now offers clothing lines based on local fashion through its website, 300 high-end children’s boutiques, and retailers like Nordstrom.

Access Tea Collection: Brewing Up Unique Email & Social Campaings.