Helix Sleep drives more revenue by sending fewer emails

Thinking outside the box

Helix Sleep is an ecommerce company that delivers made-to-order mattresses based on the belief that sleep is a personal activity, and your bed should reflect that. Though the bed-in-a-box is their hero product, Helix Sleep also sells pillows, bases, bedding, and more to provide you with an uninterrupted night's sleep.

"The traditional mattress experience was awkward, and the showroom experience was a bit unpleasant," said Laur Fiatoa, Senior Growth Marketing Manager at Helix Sleep.

"With the growth of online bed-in-a-box competitors, there are a lot of one-size-fits-all models. However, at Helix Sleep we truly wanted to provide everyone with a different solution for their different sleep needs and create an individualized, personalized solution for a universal problem," she said.

The problem for Helix Sleep was matching their personalized products to a personalized digital experience. They were snoozing on the opportunity to match customers to a discovery process that helped them understand what Helix Sleep could do for them. 

Personalized marketing was just a dream

At Helix Sleep, Fiatoa had ambitious growth targets. To reach her goals, she knew she needed a way to ensure Helix Sleep provided customers with the best and most personalized digital experience possible, all while progressing customers towards purchase. She knew she had to find the perfect balance to accelerate the customer journey. The key to her strategy was using data to validate messages but that required sending a lot of emails. 

Over-emailing was top of mind for Fiatoa. 

When Helix Sleep first started email marketing, they sorted customers into three primary buckets: traditional prospects, those who took their sleep quiz and saved their results, and customers.

However, because these segmented lists were predetermined, it created a one-dimensional view of their customers and led to mass email sends with little-to-no message personalization.

A widespread problem many marketers face occurs when curious shoppers show interest in several products at once.

For Helix Sleep, this meant that there was also the potential that customers could enter multiple different campaigns at once. As a result, the customer's content wouldn't reflect where they were in the customer journey or their true interests.






Each product in the Helix catalog has a specific ideal buyer and different value propositions with corresponding SKUs (stock-keeping units). Again, Fiatoa wanted to create unique email sequences for each product line. Customers would get different content depending on whether they were a better fit, say, for an eco-friendly Birch Natural Mattress rather than the best-selling Helix LUXE Moonlight.

For Fiotoa, deciding to enroll customers in email sequences manually felt like guessing. That's where Optimizely Data Platform (ODP), part of Optimizely's market-leading Digital Experience Platform (DXP), comes in to help with data science and behavioral targeting.

Like Laur Fiotoa, marketers and merchandisers from over 9,000 brands trust Optimizely to power the digital experience with personalization at scale. To ensure the right message finds the right customer at the right time, Data Platform will harmonize data from across the digital ecosystem and create a unified view of the customer experience in a real-time profile. From there, brands like Helix Sleep are empowered to act on customer behavior to deliver outsized outcomes.

Data Platform's harmonized data powers customer-centric campaigns

Fiatoa knew that when consumers make a more significant purchase like a mattress, there is often a long cycle of consideration and research before the purchase is made. People want to make sure that they get the right product, and they can return to the website repeatedly for months at a time and engage with many distinct products before making a final purchase.

With all that research, the need to know each shopper's entire digital footprint is paramount.

For Helix Sleep, 89% of their traffic came from anonymous shoppers, and 14% would make multiple visits a month. With all of that complexity, how does one begin to personalize when so much is unknown about the shopper, and conflicting signals complicate understanding? Without knowing who the customer is, or what product interests them most

With identity resolution from Data Platform, brands and retailers can resolve unknown sessions into customer profiles and stitch previously anonymous activity into verified records. Knowing the customer can mean the difference between a conversion and the competition.

Without an earlier conversion, such as submitting a form or a purchase, you may be asking yourself, but how can brands take all that anonymous activity and create a relevant experience? That's where Data Platform has been a mighty help for Helix Sleep.

"Now, we look at segmentation in a far more comprehensive way due to the technology and data capabilities that [Data Platform] provides," said Fiatoa.

Fiatoa's team can use priority groups in Data Platform to see prospects who take specific actions and, as a result, qualify for multiple campaigns simultaneously. Then, Helix Sleep can more accurately identify the most relevant campaigns for individual customers via reporting in Data Platform.

In this way, Helix Sleep can use segments to engage with buyers. They're nurtured based on their level of intent and which products are most likely to be valued based on their interactions with the brand and variety of products Helix Sleep offers.

For example, if a buyer viewed the Helix Midnight product page but saved the Helix Dusk, that person probably has a higher intent for the latter product. At scale, events like these are analyzed by Data Platform's data science models. Data Platform will train itself on your audience with machine learning. Every data point captured means more accuracy for predictions and recommendations. Through recommendations and segmentation, the Helix Sleep team can personalize down to the individual for each campaign.

By using the more relevant priority groupings, Helix Sleep meets the customer where they are before the customer is even ready to convert. As a result, Helix Sleep supplies the best possible marketing content — rather than blasting out the same content to everyone.

Previously, Helix Sleep was only able to segment upon those who fell into one of the three large buckets at one point or another and hope their email marketing was accurate. Now, with Data Platform, the Helix Sleep team leverages data science models to predict the best-next steps for each customer with the click of a mouse.

Results that help the Helix team sleep at night

Not only did priority groups increase the conversion rate by 13%, but Helix Sleep also saw a 16% increase in open rate and a 27% decrease in unsubscribes. It may sound counterintuitive, but Helix Sleep is sending fewer emails while getting better results due to targeting and personalization.

"When you're giving your customers the journey they're intending, they're more likely to engage. And more importantly, they're less likely to get annoyed by your emails," said Fiatoa.

Suppose you have a customer that could enter multiple lists for automated campaigns. In that case, Fiatoa encourages you to try priority groups to make sure that you're sending them to the most relevant products for that exact point in their journey.

"When you're giving your customers the journey they're intending, they're more likely to engage. And more importantly, they're less likely to get annoyed by your emails. Now, we look at segmentation in a far more comprehensive way due to the technology and data capabilities that [Data Platform] provides."