Smarter than the competition.
Mainline Menswear takes a nimble approach to paid search and fuels growth with Adobe Advertising Cloud.
Scarborough, North Yorkshire, UK
Increase in sales during the Christmas season with a more-focused PPC approach
Drive revenue growth in the UK and expand into 15 new markets
Increase return on ad spend to drive more advertising investment
Boost agility and speed to compete against larger retailers
21% Increase in return on ad spend (ROAS) year over year during the week of Black Friday
30% Increase in sales during the Christmas season with a more-focused PPC approach
30K new customers joined in December 2018 through targeted advertising
99% eKomi rating, achieved through a focus on customer service
“Competitors are stepping up in the digital world, but we pride ourselves on being innovative. Adobe Advertising Cloud helps us stay
one step ahead, helping to achieve 30% growth last year.”
Head of Marketing, Mainline Menswear
The power of ingenuity in a crowded retail space
With online shopping for clothing on the rise, there is intense competition as designer brands and traditional brick-and-mortar shops look to attract shoppers in a digital world. Large retailers rely on their brand recognition and scale—but they generally lack the speed and agility of smaller competitors.
Launched online in 2004, Mainline Menswear has the distinct advantage of being a nimble, digital-native start-up with a keen focus on customer service and next-day delivery. Though relatively small, the company is growing rapidly. It sells 10,000 items across close to 100 designer brands. With a growing customer base, Mainline Menswear is poised to expand internationally beyond its UK roots.
As Mainline Menswear’s Head of Marketing Jonathan Patrick says, “We’re from a sleepy seaside town in North Yorkshire and one of the biggest buyers of luxury menswear. Our ability to react quickly to the market is driving our success, whereas many of our bigger competitors are struggling.”
Larger retailers often rely heavily on discounts to attract business, which can be particularly challenging for smaller start-ups. In contrast, Mainline Menswear has to largely rely on ingenuity in its online advertising, carefully targeting audiences with messaging around free next-day delivery, loyalty rewards, and special offers. Indeed, the company has always been an early adopter of new approaches to marketing and online advertising.
“Competitors are stepping up in the digital world, but we pride ourselves on being innovative,” says Patrick. “Adobe Advertising Cloud helps us stay one step ahead, helping to achieve 30% growth last year.”
Mainline Menswear uses Adobe Advertising Cloud to sharpen its competitive advantage—reacting to demand quickly and achieving higher returns on its paid search spending. The tool enables the company to stay lean in an advertising environment that gets more expensive and competitive every year. And it creates an engine for growth, as Mainline Menswear uses a Performance Marketing model—where returns on ad spend justify more investment in advertising.
“Adobe Advertising Cloud Search is very versatile and allows us to be more reactive to market changes.”
PPC Executive Mainline Menswear
Changing its PPC game
As a digital-first retailer, Mainline Menswear goes to market primarily through paid search advertising and online shopping services with 70% of its spend on mobile. The company manages hundreds of campaigns and thousands of ad groups, attracting a wide audience of people by highlighting its top designer brands and next-day delivery.
With Adobe Advertising Cloud Search, Mainline Menswear can manage this complex environment with greater efficiency and speed—no longer having to monitor and optimize bids manually.
“Adobe Advertising Cloud Search is very versatile and allows us to be more proactive and also respond quickly to market changes,” says Sandy Hastings-Long, PPC Executive at Mainline Menswear.
PPC Executive Linzie Ross agrees, saying, “We can increase the impact of our ads with Adobe Advertising Cloud Search, which makes it easy to target audiences and play up our customer service strengths.”
The tool’s artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities play a big role in transforming the company’s PPC strategy. The Performance Optimization feature, powered by Adobe Sensei, allows marketers to set goals for different audiences and devices, and then simply lets the algorithms adjust bids accordingly. Plus, the marketing team can run simulations to predict clicks and cost—determining how certain campaigns might play out through Performance Forecasting, also powered by Adobe Sensei. When the team wants to modify its budget during long-term planning or for seasonal campaigns and promotions, the Performance Forecasting capability helps reduce the risk by forecasting the impact on the portfolio, with an accuracy threshold of +-30% for both click and cost.
“With its AI capabilities, Adobe Advertising Cloud allows us to spend more time on long-term performance and growth rather than simply reacting to short-term fluctuations,” says Robert Charlton, PPC lead at Mainline Menswear. “We can focus on making our campaigns as clean and targeted as possible, blocking irrelevant traffic, and delivering ad messages that are as engaging as possible for target audiences.”
Big returns on Black Friday
Working with Adobe to take full advantage of the solution, Mainline Menswear saw early success simply by rethinking its objectives.
“Adobe helped us run tests on a few of our biggest campaigns, setting our sights toward revenue goals rather than orders alone,” explains Charlton. “That simple shift in focus increased both orders and revenue without an increase in spending, making us much more competitive on Black Friday.”
The Black Friday numbers are clear, showing lower acquisition costs and more efficient use of the budget. By adding revenue as an additional objective in Adobe Advertising Cloud Search, Mainline Menswear increased return on ad spend (ROAS) 21% over the previous year during the week of Black Friday. With only a 4% rise in cost, the company achieved 33% and 26% gains in orders and revenue, respectively.
An inventive approach to holiday campaigns
The entire holiday season is an important time for retailers, and many of them vie for traffic by blanketing the market with heavy discounts. It’s a costly strategy. In contrast, Mainline Menswear takes a more measured approach to advertising. Using Adobe Advertising Cloud Search, the company waits to see what competitors do and looks for opportunities to react immediately.
As Patrick explains, “Where we saw gaps in the market, we pushed certain brands. Where markets were saturated, we held back and invested our budget elsewhere. Adobe Advertising Cloud enables us to adapt quickly, so we achieve a lower cost of sale.”
As a result, Mainline Menswear grew its customer base, drove incremental sales, and realized its highest share of impressions in Google. The company’s commitment to customer service—with free next-day delivery, loyalty rewards, and special offers—means that new customers are likely to return.
According to Patrick, “With Adobe Advertising Cloud, we attracted 30,000 new customers on top of our loyal customer base and drove a 30% increase in sales over the holiday period. And we’re very proud of our 99% eKomi rating. We find that customers come back because of the service.”
Mainline Menswear also collaborates with designer brands on marketing campaigns, using its own customer database to push out brand-specific messaging. The partnerships are mutually beneficial, combining the impact of big names with the responsiveness of Mainline Menswear’s paid search strategy.
Fueling growth and expansion
Mainline Menswear is an excellent example of how a small online retailer can outmaneuver even much larger retail powerhouses with the right strategy and technology. By adopting Adobe Advertising Cloud, Mainline Menswear has been able to scale its business and maintain its agile approach to online advertising.
The tool encourages ingenuity and continuous improvement, helping to lead the company’s expansion into 15 new markets internationally. It also spurs growth internally, as the marketing team doubled in size over the past two years and expects to double yet again.
“Adobe Advertising Cloud supports our fluid cost of sale model, which means we are continually reinvesting return on ad spend into further advertising,” says Patrick. “The higher the returns, the more we can grow.”
“With its AI capabilities, Adobe Advertising Cloud allows us to spend more time on long-term performance and growth rather than simply reacting to short-term fluctuations.”
PPC Lead Mainline Menswear
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