Founded 15 years ago by two die-hard backcountry skiers, Backcountry.com has grown into the largest online specialty retailer of premium outdoor gear. Consistently included as one of Internet Retailer’s Best of the Web, Backcountry.com runs a slew of websites ranging from online stores to daily deal sites, which receive over 13 million unique visitors a month.
Like any online retailer, Backcountry.com relies on email marketing to drive revenue. To this end, Backcountry.com hired Kimberly Snyder, Email and Loyalty Marketing Manager, to make improvements. Having previously worked as a director at a leading email service provider (ESP), Snyder is a highly knowledgeable email marketer with rare insight into the ESP marketplace.
Upon joining Backcountry.com, Snyder immediately discovered she needed to improve Backcountry’s email marketing capabilities. She had inherited an ESP that did not meet her high expectations and could not deliver on the company’s goals. “I quickly uncovered a lot of pain points tied to our previous ESP,” says Snyder.
She identified room for substantial improvement at almost every turn: structure, data integrity, triggered email control, deliverability, and support. The lack of data integrity caused multiple problems, the direst of which was a high subscriber attrition rate. “We had a massive unsubscribe issue. Subscribers were not able to unsubscribe from just one site’s emails,” says Snyder. “If a customer was subscribed to both Backcountry.com and RealCyclist.com, for instance, and unsubscribed from one site’s email, he was universally unsubscribed from all our emails.”
Backcountry.com’s triggered emails were extremely limited. Even simple triggered campaigns, such as welcome emails, were a challenge. “I wasn’t able to change anything without it breaking or having to rely on our former provider to build a new tool,” explains Snyder.