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After becoming an independent company through a highly ambitious group of new investors, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) needed to move from a product-centric approach to putting membership and customers back at the heart of their proposition. A partnership with personalization experts Monetate boosted revenue with testing and personalization across all their member and prospect touchpoints.

Every Experience Matters: Becoming Customer-Centric

SMWS has been at the forefront of premium, single cask whisky production since 1983, sold exclusively to its members. They know and love their product through and through, but they needed a modern, white glove membership experience to stay competitive and reach the brand’s goal of tripling revenue within five years.

“Before Monetate, we were operating quite a clunky platform with fixed creative assets, and we were tied to our web development agency to make any changes to key pages,” explained Will Richardson, Head of Digital Marketing at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. “We were trying to please everybody but ended up not pleasing people enough. We needed to deliver a more personalised experience. Operating as a membership organisation requires a depth of knowledge and interaction with people that we just couldn’t get when we weren’t personalising the web experience for each unique circumstance.”

Quick Wins with A/B and Advanced Testing

Two years ago, SMWS partnered with Monetate to make good on their promise of a membership experience that attracts and inspires engagement. The first step was delivering on the basics: the right language, in the right places, at the right time. To get their feet wet with personalization, SMWS identified two crucial points where their communications were falling short and used Monetate’s testing capabilities to identify the solutions—with impressive results.

User testing feedback revealed that visitors were confused about the pricing differences between the various membership options. SMWS used Monetate testing to determine the best copy to clarify prices and to improve their positioning. The test quickly surfaced the winning option, for a 34% increase in revenue per session (RPS) compared to the control group—showing what a difference a few words makes.

The next optimizations were designed to scale up efforts to drive loyalty and sales. SMWS used a Majority Fit Experience (MFE) to pinpoint a strong CTA that would highlight value on product detail pages. Rather than waiting for a standard test to reach significance, the team saw immediate results as the machine learning test routed traffic continuously to the strongest variants.

Over the course of 50K sessions, they saw an improvement of 10% AOV and a 17% drop in bounce rate, all while delivering a continuously better
experience to the audience.

With this new approach to testing, they’re hitting all their milestones. Richardson explained, “Monetate is playing an absolutely pivotal role in our efforts to better engage our members, which is key in meeting our commercial goals.”

Personalization with Customer Data Leads to Lift in Loyalty

As they grew increasingly comfortable with the platform, SMWS expanded their use of Monetate by applying the power of AI to the challenge of membership renewals. To engage members earlier, the team deployed two Individual Fit Experiences: an “early-bird renewal” banner on the homepage and a “renewal in 30 days” carousel takeover that were shown to members with an approaching anniversary.

Instantly, they saw a surprisingly high engagement rate: the banners were receiving 10% of clicks on the homepage, making them the fourth-most engaging asset on the page. They were also able to correlate their efforts to a 5% increase in renewals. Given their impact, SMWS has decided to leave the experiences running indefinitely so that they can continue to grow the lifetime value of their members.

SMWS has also been able to leverage their existing customer data in Monetate to deliver CRM-driven personalization that stimulates event attendance. As Richardson summarized, “Using CRM data for personalization has been rocket fuel for us.” They segmented customers within five miles of a venue who hadn’t yet participated in a live event and customized their homepages to promote the event’s value. The tactic helped SMWS further their goal of achieving customer-centricity for the optimal member experience. The team is interested in going even further with their use of customer data and AI within Monetate to create more relevant and engaging experiences. “We’ve steadily got more and more progressive, and we’re just getting smarter as time goes on.”

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