Case study: easyJet’s conversions soar by 60 per cent with personalization
Since wowing the audience at Sitecore Symposium in 2013, easyJet has become one of our most recognizable customers. It’s easy to see why: the easyJet story provides a textbook example of how small improvements in the digital customer experience – the “quick wins” I’ve been blogging about lately – can translate into fast, significant revenue improvements.
A November 2014 news analysis article in Diginomica captures the impact:
“… easyJet has been investing in its digital strategy for a couple of years now and appears to be reaping the benefits, given its results out today. easyJet CEO Carolynn McCall announced that the airline had seen a 21.5 per cent jump in annual profits, up to £581 million for the 12 months to the end of September.”
Personalization from the ground up
Together with True Clarity, easyJet first implemented a Sitecore solution in 2011. It included personalization, one of the “quick wins” covered in Lars Birkholm Petersen’s excellent book, Connect: How to Use Data and Experience Marketing to Create Lifetime Customers.
The easyJet site began using search and GeoIP data to dynamically personalize the home page for each unique visitor, showing flights from their local airport, plus imagery and content that appeal to their previous behaviors. The home page shows live pricing for relevant flights and, with a click, the visitor can add those flights to their shopping basket.
Personalization quickly paid off for easyJet. By early 2012, the airline was delivering personalized home pages to more than 2.5 million concurrent users at peak load times during the airline’s popular five-day January Sale. During the sale period that year, easyJet transacted five sales per second, the equivalent of filling two planes per minute.
“Inspire Me” with a personalized trip
easyJet’s continuous site testing revealed that around 40% of customers coming to the site knew they wanted to travel, but were unsure where to. This fact presented an opportunity for easyJet to take the “quick win” of personalization a step further.
The “Inspire Me” function on easyJet.com, an inspiring mix of data and relevant content, matches travelers with their perfect trip — whether that’s cultural, romantic, beach, or adventure. “Inspire Me” uses personalization and customers’ digital fingerprints to “magically” align travel offerings with their needs, wants, and expectations, simultaneously, converting more undecided travelers into flight bookings, in the moment.
Created by Havas EHS (now Havas Helia), easyJet’s award-winning 2013 email campaign to support “Inspire Me” presented a dramatic shift for the airline sector. It moved from the obvious tactic of sales-driven, batch-blasted emails, to reflect the human truth about travel: travelers care more about their holiday experience than they do about how they get there.
For the campaign, “Inspire Me” emails directed travelers to the website’s handy inspiration tool, to search destinations based on the experience they wanted. Emails were triggered at intervals based on customers’ previous travel, anticipating their desire to take a last-minute city break or plan a family vacation for an upcoming school holiday. Dynamic content connected travelers with easyJet at the moment when they were dreaming up their next getaway, tempting skiers with adventure, couples with romantic escapes, or families with fun-packed beach holidays.
These highly individualized, humanistic emails were filled with targeted suggestions, taking travelers to the “Inspire Me” tool. Here, the breadth of options available was fully tailored and personalized with destinations from the customer’s preferred departure airport, with prices based on what they’ve paid previously. Booking options were just one click away.
Personalization drives 67:1 campaign ROI
easyJet’s “Inspire Me” campaign doubled customer engagement with the email (expressed as the click rate) and quadrupled conversion (expressed as unique bookers who received “Inspire Me” emails vs. unique bookers from the easyJet newsletter). The inclusion of personalized airports doubled engagement and increased conversion by 60%. Including the price increased engagement by 70%, and conversion by 42%, except for the French market, where not including the price converted 15 per cent more.
Altogether, the campaign delivered a 67-fold return on investment. That’s pretty amazing, huh? To read more about how digital quick wins transformed easyJet into Europe’s leading low-cost airline, download one of my favorite white papers, “The power to disrupt: How marketers are turning industries upside down.”
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About the Author
Darren Guarnaccia is the chief strategy officer of Sitecore
Sitecore is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members contribute their expertise and insights to Which-50 for the benefit of our senior executive audience. Membership fees apply.