We sat down with Lauren Ulmer from Dormify to talk about disrupting college dorm decorations and how to be nimble when your audience changes every year.
Tell us about your business! What do you sell and why is it awesome?
Dormify is a one-stop-shop for small space decorating and inspiration designed for the fashion-minded. We simplify the decor shopping experience by creating and curating exclusive products specifically designed for the style-obsessed and merchandising them into easy-to-shop looks to make decorating stress-free and fun.
In just a few years, we’ve grown into a trusted resource for original ideas and distinctive decor. With all of the products and inspiration you’ll ever need in one place, you can flawlessly make your dream dorm room into a reality.
What inspired you to join the team?
The team and the mission inspired me to join Dormify. Our team is super talented and we evolve along with each class of incoming freshmen. Starting college is a transformative moment in life for thousands and thousands of students across the country each year and it’s exciting to be a part of that moment: New friendships, new living spaces, and new routines. We help our customers prepare to have the best college experience that they can.
How do you go about marketing your business?
In our peak season, a lot of our traffic comes from curious incoming college freshmen browsing Instagram and looking for dorm room inspiration. Outside of Instagram, we rely a lot on organic word of mouth where upperclassmen pass our name along to their younger friends once they get accepted to college.
Once customers reach our site, our main priority is getting their email address so we can begin developing a relationship with them in their shopping journey. We introduce our customers to our offering through a welcome series that includes a discount code for their first purchase.
What types of offers work best for you?
Our welcome offer of 20% off is extremely successful. It drives a big chunk of revenue for us with each new class of college freshmen.
Before Privy, it was more challenging to set up and run A/B tests on our opening offer.
Our original offer mentioned the discount in smaller text on the modal. With Privy, we’ve been able to run A/B tests on this welcome offer to figure out the best way to message it to our new customers.
When we tested the original against the offer pictured here that prominently highlights the discount, we were able to increase our welcome email capture rate by 57.6%.
Once we figured out the winner, we could seamlessly push the winning variation to be the new original and reap the benefits of our much higher capture rate.
Besides Privy, what else is in your tech stack? Why did you choose those tools?
Besides Privy, we use:
Our migration to Shopify Plus has been transformative! We’ve been able to double our business without increasing our team size or workload. A big part of that is the apps and tools that we add on to Shopify like Privy.
Algolia for site search. It’s an affordable and lightning-fast search solution.
Okendo for product reviews, which gives us the customization in order to make our reviews super relevant for our customers.
Smile.io for our customer loyalty program. It has a beautiful interface for our customers to use and is flexible, allowing us to reward our members for any event we have going on at a given moment!
What are some of your biggest business or marketing challenges?
Since we are a college-focused business, our audience changes every single year. With that, we definitely can’t rely on the same tactics, which makes things really exciting for us! We’re always eager to hop on new channels and beta programs to test out with our audience.
It's really important to always know how well our marketing channels are working. My favorite feature of Privy is the ability to see the email capture conversion rate as well as the redemption rate. Oftentimes, customers that sign up on the modal can forget to use the coupon code that they receive via email, so the number redeemed that Privy provides gives us a more full picture of how many conversions we’ve gotten from those sign ups without having to run a custom report.
Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs or small businesses out there?
Prioritization is key. We have a lean team, which allows us to be nimble, but we also have to make choices on where we choose to spend out time. Not having time to do everything should not be considered a weakness when it comes to running a growing business. Instead, it’s important to make sure that the initiatives that are going to have the biggest impact on your business are getting the manpower that they need.
Get ready to hit the books with Dormify's sweet dorm decor.