Roman Originals, the UK fashion retailer famed for 2015’s viral gold and white dress debate, is bucking the trend of small and mid-size companies struggling on the high street, thanks to a forward-thinking digital strategy.

Founded in 1957, the family-owned Roman Originals team knew staying relevant and profitable in the 21st Century requires more than a good product. It has undertaken a period of digital evolution in recent years, whereby it has complemented its 150-strong brick-and-mortar UK stores with a digital proposition that rivals many bigger, better known retailers.

Key to its digital operations is a personalised advertising programme developed and implemented by Conversant in 2018. Conversant activated Roman Originals’ transaction file under their Conversant ID, allowing them to identify the individual customers in the data, then deliver highly personalised one-to-one messaging strategies optimised and measured to generate incremental return. In the three-month period from November to February, this highly targeted approach secured an incremental revenue increase of almost £500,000 – giving Roman Originals an incremental return on ad spend of £7 for every £1 invested, which is far above the industry norm.

“Since 2010, over 3001 retail companies have gone bankrupt or into administration in the UK, with over 240,000 staff affected. A major trend behind this has been failing to modernise,” explainedChris Brennan, VP of client development at Conversant. “Roman Originals’ digital activities are a best practice example of how small and medium size retailers can move into the 21st Century and future-proof their operations. They successfully identify and engage their target audience, ensuring a healthy return on investment. Other retailers would be wise to follow the path they’ve set.”

As a smaller player in a huge market, it’s important for Roman Originals to maximise every channel that it can, to speak to and with customers. Personalised advertising is key to this, as it enables the company to tailor everything to each customer’s wants and needs, and remain relevant and front of mind. And through detailed reporting of results, Roman Originals knows what works and what doesn’t, and how to optimise advertising.

Kieran Scott, Paid Media Manager at Roman Originals, commented: “Because Conversant measures and validates against incremental uplift, we know that for every spend we make, we are definitely getting a return for our money. It’s helping me drive incremental revenue, and you can’t really argue with that as it’s the true value. We’re able to control the audience of our media and measure against a KPI that really works.”