Home E-Commerce Player One Kings Lane Uses TV To Complement Retargeting

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This past week, home furnishings shopping site One Kings Lane kicked off its first national brand advertising under the tag, "Design is Never Done." The ads, which were created by Wieden+Kennedy, are intended to complement the San Francisco company’s extensive use of internet advertising, which includes a heavy dose of display, search, retargeting and social media marketing, with traditional TV and print spots. We talked with Greg Fant, One Kings Lane’s chief marketing officer, about the company’s plans to raise its profile in the increasingly crowded e-commerce space.

AdExchanger: Is this the first brand campaign One King’s Lane has done? Why now? What are the goals?

GREG FANT: Yes, this is our first big campaign we’ve done. I’ve been here two years and the model is three years old. Historically, we’ve relied on data-driven, direct response-based marketing, classic SEO stuff along with a fair amount of retargeting. Typically, we’ve balanced that out by focusing on developing a lot of earned media in PR and social. As for right now, we feel we’re in a good place in terms of growth, but outside of core home decor enthusiasts, we’re still largely unknown. So we felt it was time to tell our story in a much bigger way. And the best way to do that in this day and age is still television.

So are you aiming for mass appeal?

Not at all. It’s still a very targeted campaign, aimed at home décor enthusiasts, affluent women. We’re going to be smart about where to put our brand dollars. This is primarily about targeted amplification of our message and our brand’s story. And it’s designed to work in concert with our continued work on the direct response side.

What is One King’s Lane story? Are you perceived as a deals site like Groupon or discount luxury like Gilt Groupe?

We’re definitely not a deals site. We see ourselves as premium home décor. That said, we’ve wandered from our roots as a flash sale player, which is what Gilt is known for in the apparel space. One Kings Lane is a marketplace that has an abundance of home furnishing inventory. So it’s becoming less of a “sales event” model and more of a vertical e-commerce business. And we’re not going to wander from the discipline of concentrating on a single environment.

You mentioned that retargeting is a big part of your marketing focus. How has that tool evolved for One Kings Lane?

We entered the world of retargeting in a bigger way this year. Previously, we relied heavily on email marketing. We would drop emails every day, reminding consumers about our merchandise and the deals that were available. Over the past 12 months, we’ve significantly scaled our retargeting abilities across the web generally and Facebook in particular. We’ve had enormous success. The key to that success was actually something we thought might be a challenge. Because our inventory changes so rapidly, we wondered whether retargeting would really create any traction.

But it turned out that the freshness of the offerings – the items on our site change every day – was what attracted people and got them to go deeper into the site. And because we have such a large catalogue of items to draw on, consumers who come to the site aren’t burned out by seeing the same things over and over.

Another advantage is our user data.

How do use the data that you collect?

In order to shop the site, you have to be in a logged in status. Therefore, we know who you are, we know what you’ve looked at and bought in the past, we can track the level of interaction with the site at a very deep, pervasive level. Unlike most retargeters who rely on cookie data – which is great, don’t get me wrong – the logged in status data is much more powerful in terms of accurately presenting items to consumers.

So we’re using that data for retargeting to some degree this year, but over the next few years, we expect that we’ll be able to do a lot more on the personalization front that a lot of other companies because we have such rich data.

Do you do this all in-house or do you work with any outside firms?

We’ve been working with TellApart and we’ve learned a lot from them. We do our Facebook retargeting, which is still fairly new, ourselves. Facebook has been an extraordinarily effective.

What’s One Kings Lane’s mobile strategy? How important is mobile in terms of driving consumers and revenue?

On average, 25 percent of our revenue comes from mobile. On weekends, that number can jump up to 40 percent. To date, we’re just focused on optimizing the user shopping experience on mobile platforms. But where we’re fairly far along on retargeting, mobile marketing is relatively new for us. That’s going to be something we’ll be working on the next few months, namely figuring out how to scale the mobile business in an intelligent way.

Is there a very different approach to shoppers on mobile and tablet versus PC usage?

We do see a lot of multi-device usage throughout the day. So it does vary. One way our site is unique is that if you’re on the west coast you have to be up early – around 8am – because that’s when the best of the new stuff becomes available. So we see a lot of mobile activity in the morning. Then, as the day continues, people are at work, so we see a lot of PC activity. Then, in the evenings is when mobile usage spikes significantly. As a result of those established patterns, we pay very close attention to the times items are promoted to the site and try our best to reflect those patterns throughout the day.

A lot of traditional publishers have gotten deeper into e-commerce as a way to complement their advertising revenue stream. Do you have any partnerships with publishers? Is that something you feel you can explore?

Our commerce is our content, so in a way, we do see ourselves as publishers. That said, we have looked to cross-platform partnerships with content companies. NBC Universal’s Bravo did a major integration with our site for their show, Million Dollar Decorator last July. They told the story of a world-class designer over two episodes and we built a sales event around that. Consumers want the marriage of content and commerce. They want to be able to see something on TV or in a magazine and be able to access it.

We’ve done some tests with Hearst Magazines around “show-houses,” where they would tell the story of a home and its furnishings. The items featured in the show house would then be up on One Kings Lane. So you can read about something and then act on it by buying something connected to that feature. We’re going to do more of those and we plan to strike new deals with media companies over the next year.

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