Wentworth Wooden Puzzles
How a puzzle company increased sales by 107%, and new customers by 93%
For the Wentworth Wooden Puzzle Company (WWPC) 2020 was no ordinary year.
Sales in 2020 were up 107% from 2019, and new customers up 93%.
Much of this was due to people turning to jigsaw puzzles during periods of lockdown, and some of it was due to improved marketing driven by their technology and data science partnership with UniFida.
WWPC had made a decision to deploy UniFida’s customer data platform back in 2017, and in the early days the focus had been on building a single customer record that combined online browsing information with offline transactional. This was then used for targeting customer focused communications, particularly catalogues which have continued to be a key sales driver for all country markets and for acquisition in their USA market. The majority of sales are driven online but as the cost of catalogues is higher than some other media, the campaign analysis that UniFida provides was key for WWPC to establish how they drive sales.
By 2020 UniFida and WWPC were engaged in continuous symbiotic development.
'Best Technology Partnership 2021' award from the Direct Commerce Association
"For the last 18 months I've been helping WWPC improve their customer acquisition and retention through a wide variety of projects. That's meant I've had the pleasure of getting to grips with the UniFida system.
I really do mean pleasure - I've been in eCommerce for over 15 years and it's been great to finally be able to understand what's influencing our new and repeat purchases (including both on and offline marketing activity). Being able to segment those results by pretty much any criteria we want has enabled us to improve our testing plans for the future much faster than we otherwise would have been able to.
What's made the tool particularly powerful is that although 90% of what you want is there out of the box, customising for the last 10% has been very straightforward. Which means we've been able to bring the insight UniFida gives us into far more projects that I would have ever thought possible."
Chloe Thomas, e-commerce leader and consultant to Wentworth Wooden Puzzles
The full story
There were four main developments that took place in 2020 that in combination provided WWPC with the level of information they needed to fully understand how their customers were performing, and how their multi-channel online and offline acquisition marketing was translating into actual orders.
These developments, which were in part prompted by UniFida and part by WWPC, were all undertaken in 2020 and were on top of the day to day use of the UniFida customer data platform to drive direct to customer campaigns.
1. Algorithmic direct event attribution (ADEE)
Our objective was to get a clear picture of the precise value that each of the direct marketing channels used by WWPC were contributing, not just overall, but for specific customer groups like new v. existing, or buyers of fine art puzzles v. personalised pictures.
This pioneering development required a number of components to be put in place:
First, we needed to build a table of all the online and offline customer events in the 90 days before each individual order. So, for instance, had they received a catalogue 30 days before the order, opened an email 10 days before, and landed on the website to order via Google PPC. We developed this table and found that there was an average of five events before each order.
Next we had to work out how to give different weightings to each event so that a true picture was provided of their individual significance. We employed a team of four graduates during the summer of 2020 to work on this, and they came back with a solution that involved Markov chains and survival analysis.
We then linked these tables to the single customer view in our CDP so that we could select any particular customer group for which WWPC needed to understand what was driving their orders.
The result was an on-demand report ADEE report (we cannot show an actual report for reasons of commercial confidentiality).
An ADEE report shows the share of sales value contributed by each channel
The mix of channels to display is dependent on where you are spending your marketing budget
The key column in the report is the share of value, but we also show how many sales each channel impacts
2. Building a new dashboard to give real time customer performance statistics
WWPC had some very specific data visualisation requirements which we then developed as a dashboard. Inside the customer data platform technology dashboards are updated in real time as data arrived by API.
This was in addition to website analytics from Matomo, and the integration of UniFida with Power BI so that WWPC can build their own drill downs as required.
The dashboards included:
The number of orders made by each customer recency, monetary value band
The number of customers, mailable customers, emailable customer, and customers that could be shared with partners, by country
The % of orders at full price, % gifted, % with free shipping, and % personalised, by country
The average number of items per order, per month
A count of customers by the number of lifetime orders
Atable of lifetime value bands by the number of orders made
3. Building a complete set of customer-based marketing metrics to enable year on year comparisons
WWPC needed to understand longer term trends so reports were developed to show:
The number of new customers recruited in any month and year compared to the previous year
The source of overall orders in a calendar year, in terms how many were new recruits, how many from customers recruited in the previous year, how many from the year before that etc. This report then allows WWPC to predict with a reasonable level of accuracy the number of orders they will get in a future year from their existing customer stock
The value and retention of customers. This report takes the cohort of customers recruited each month, and shows the value they delivered in their first year from recruitment, then the number who ordered and their value in their second year, and so on up to year five. This report not only informs WWPC how much they can afford to spend on customer recruitment, but also their year-on-year comparisons show whether they are getting better or worse at retailing customers.
An important feature of all these reports was that they could be drilled down by for instance country, and for the customer retention the respondents to particular online of offline campaigns.
4. Investigating the customer journey
WWPC were concerned to understand the relationship between the number of browsers on their website and orders being made.
We found an extraordinarily strong relationship between the two.
This then encouraged the client to ask about how TV advertising, which was only done in short bursts, impacted visits and page views with the following results:
This slide shows how TV contributed strongly to page views in all periods except Feb/March 2018.
This evidences the extent to which the mix of online and offline data held in a customer data platform can be used to provide a 360-degree vision of what is the effect of all aspects of the customer recruitment and retention processes.
It enabled WWPC to replan all their acquisition activities based on hard evidence of how their channels were working in combination, and through understanding retention patterns, what was a reasonable cost per acquisition.
It also gave them a clear picture of how their existing customers were performing, and the effectiveness of their retention campaigns.
Sarah Watson, CEO of Wentworth, describes how she saw things from her perspective:
"The developments that UniFida made to their platform for us in 2020 were life-changing, professionally speaking that is. To have real-time knowledge of which marketing activity is contributing to our sales, not just relying on the old assumptions, has been a long-time goal finally achieved. Plus, the ability to be able to see with ease which customer cohorts by year of acquisition are contributing to our sales, not just in 2020 but as far back as it is useful to know, has been a revelation. In a year when everything changed for us, from the patterns of customer demand to our marketing activity, to have this historical data was in fact vital to help us forecast our 2021 demand. Even if our forecast is off (as I’m sure it will be), to be able to compare against it on a monthly basis will help us react and plan, plus improve our forecasting into the future. As a business that manufactures our own stock in advance of every campaign, accurate forecasting is key to forward planning and ensuring we optimise demand and customer experience."
"I am sure access to this new information will create more questions, inevitably leading to more enhancements. I have full confidence that Julian and his team will not only rise to every challenge but contribute to making each one deliver much more than we expected."