Bianca Romano Smith from VRG GRL: The Role of Google, TikTok and Meta for Fashion | #417

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Bianca talks Tik Tok, abandoned carts and Advantage+

Bianca started out in media buying, cutting her teeth at Flight Centre and transitioning to broader digital roles with some of Australia's top retailers. Recently, she was named 'The One To Watch' in the Online Retailer's Top 50 People in Ecommerce, and took on an exciting new role heading up the ecommerce and digital function at iconic Australian label VRG GRL.

In this episode of Add To Cart, we are joined by Bianca Romano Smith, Ecommerce and Digital Manager at VRG GRL

VRG GRL started life as a retail store in the Brisbane Arcade almost 17 years ago and has grown alongside its sibling founders. After moving online, VRG GRL has more recently shifted from a multi-brand online retail model to a dedicated in-house label.  Bianca joined the VRG GRL team earlier this year and comes from a digital marketing and fashion background with previous roles at Universal Store and Black MIlk.  In this chat Bianca shares her practical Tik Tok tips, how her team are using  Meta with particular focus on Advantage Plus and her take on abandoned carts and how to deal with them. Plus she makes me look like a fool with one of the recent VRG GRL executions that I fell badly for.

“We don’t want to acquire on a cashback, we want someone to find us, fall in love and come that way”

Bianca Romano Smith

Watch out Tik Tok

“Oh my God, return on ad spend tripled almost overnight. And I slowly moved almost everything I was doing in that business to Advantage+ campaigns. And I was really, really impressed. I started thinking, are they over inflating the numbers? Are they just saying it’s good to get everyone moving to these campaigns, but I was seeing it in the backend. I was seeing a lot more new customers, better MER and it was really successful. 

So I think Meta is continuing to improve and I think it’s actually TikTok that needs to be watching their back, ensuring that they’re also developing their machine learning and AI to keep up.”

Is Google bringing the right kind of customer?

Back when I worked for a wholesaler brand that was selling other brands. Search was the powerhouse, right? Because people would be searching for those named brands and that’s how we would win the auction. So back then, Google was the fuel in that business’s engine. And I just thought being a performance marketer, with Google experience that Google would just work like that for every brand. And I quickly realized that that’s not the case if you are your own brand selling your own goods, particularly in fashion. That’s where Meta and Pinterest and TikTok have been able to be so successful for fashion. 

And I think the other thing as well is people go to Google shopping when they know what they want and they want something simple. So a pair of black pants or red shoes, right? And what I’ve noticed is then you’ll start to serve for your really generic product and you’re not necessarily going to be surfacing your more exciting, creative styles, which all of ours are exciting and creative. 

So what can happen? Your first purchase starts to be your most plain, basic, most competitive price offering product. And then you’re not acquiring the right type of customer. And that can then actually have a really bad runoff effect. So I think that’s something that people should be careful of looking at what Google is actually selling and what type of customer are they bringing in? And then what’s that customer lifetime value from that channel? Because it might be doing the wrong thing for the business.”

Hiring the full package

“I don’t think anyone has the silver bullet on how to see past the interview phase. I think for me, it’s twofold because you can get a lot of candidates that are passionate about the brand, but you also, in my opinion, need to be passionate about the industry and the role. It needs to be hand in hand because you could love fashion, but if you don’t care about the click through rates of emails, you’re not going to be right for the role. So, I think it’s being able to make sure you’re seeing a mixture of both in the interview process.” 

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