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How Formaggio Kitchen Segmented Their Way to Success

The cheesemongers explain how they take on unsubscribes and get to know their customers better.

Hero image for Issue #96: Featuring Formaggio Kitchen

For more than 3 decades, the cheesemongers of Formaggio Kitchen have prided themselves at being really good at selling world-beloved dairy delights. Whereas Formaggio’s shops might be best known for their cheese—selected from a process which involves traveling the U.S. and Europe visiting dairies, cheesemakers, and agers—their specialty food reach extends to fine wines, beer, charcuterie, assorted sweets, and a host of other merchandise that aims to bring a little taste of Europe stateside.

Now with 3 locations (Cambridge, Boston’s historic South End, and the Essex Street Market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side), Formaggio Kitchen is working to keep pace with the competition locally and online. Enter: Mary Chapman and Tim Bucciarelli. As Media and Mail Order Manager and Director of Operations respectively, the cheese-obsessed pair has led Formaggio Kitchen’s digital charge, which started with online sales back in 2003.

Using Mailchimp’s segmentation feature, here’s how Mary and Tim take on dreaded unsubscribes and get to know their customers better.

Targeting customers with precision

Tim, who’s held various jobs at Formaggio Kitchen since he was 14, understands that small businesses have a hard time balancing priorities for the money they spend. So when it comes to marketing, he and Mary ensure that Formaggio Kitchen’s e-commerce site is a useful and enjoyable experience for their customers.

Their approach includes a weekly dinner menu for locals, a weekly wine email, monthly classes notifications, and general emails targeting specific food interests. Mary says segmentation has been essential to pulling off all these different marketing materials.

“Are we sending local or not local? Are we sending to people who are interested in wine? Interested in cheese or jam or meat?” Mary asks. “We don’t want to send meat emails to vegetarians. Segmentation has really helped us give our customers what they want.”

Prioritizing preferences and purchase history

Tim says these 2 types of segmentation seem to have the biggest impact on building their audience. The team even connected their Magento store to Mailchimp Pro’s advanced segmentation so they can get purchase history, which Tim says “in some ways is more powerful, because not only is it taking someone’s preferences of what they think they want, it’s taking their actions. It’s what they purchased, so that historical action tells us something a little bit different, and then we can send them an email that’s even more relevant.”

For instance, if they have that same item in stock or another product from the same producer, Tim says, they can better find an accompaniment or pairing to go with it. “Any of those things wouldn’t be possible without that type of purchase segmentation.”

The big payout

“I really believe it helps us to prevent unsubscribes because people aren’t just getting swarmed with emails,” Mary says. “We can send out more than we might normally send if they were all just going to the same place—they won’t feel spammed because it’s more targeted.”


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