Case Study

Wolseley proves that personalization at scale is more than just a pipe dream


Wolseley is known across the global construction industry as the world’s largest specialist trade distributor of plumbing and heating products. Wolseley UK are an operating subsidiary of Ferguson Plc, known for their specialist knowledge and expertise, and serve construction professionals through a number of trading brands (Plumb Center, Pipe Center, and Discounted Heating to name but a few).


  • Help Wolseley UK grow sales and profit
  • Establish a reputation as the easiest merchant to do business with
  • Offer a seamless multichannel proposition for clients

The Challenge

Aspiring to deliver an integrated, personalized experience for their customers across multiple touchpoints, Wolseley had their work cut out for them. With a fragmented data landscape across various trading brands, and multifarious customer segments ranging from sole traders all the way up to national utility customers (each presenting vastly different circumstances and needs), just figuring out where to start was overwhelming.

Woseley had used analytics software to identify customer personas. For example, industry professionals who ordered in product spares daily and therefore demanded consistency and reliability from their interactions with Wolseley; another example represented 20k of Wolseley’s accounts, were generally less skilled, and would order products on a more ad-hoc basis.

Getting this initial segmentation right was helpful in developing content and messaging that was effective for different types of customer. They now needed to find a way to deliver that content seamlessly and at the right time, across multiple brands and channels.

The Solution

Wolseley worked with Adestra’s Digital Design team to develop a mobile-responsive template solution that could be used across their core trading brands. The aim was to create consistency across brands, but be flexible enough to meet broad-ranging content requirements.

Next, Wolseley started working with Adestra’s partner Fresh Relevance, utilizing their personalization tools to deliver relevant content across their websites and email communications.

Automated product recommendations allowed them to present their customers with products of interest to them at the right time, based on what they have browsed or ordered in the past.

They used Fresh Relevance’s Popover SmartBlock to streamline the customer journey for large orders that involve specific multiple parts. When the customer is adding products to their order, a Popover appears on-screen with advice, helping to ensure everything they need is in their cart.

Wolseley is also using Fresh Relevance for cart abandonment and targeted campaign emails, achieving a massive uplift in open, click-through and conversion rates.


As well as ensuring consistent design, Wolseley’s new suite of templates greatly increased the speed of campaign creation through set layouts and configurable modules – all easily updated within the Adestra Email Editor. The reduction in time to create emails allows for more campaign creation and better targeting.

The new template resulted in an average open rate of 28% up from 23%, and an average click-through rate of 2.5% up from 2.1%.

For the targeted email campaigns (using Segment Builder) Wolseley are achieving a 39% open rate, 4.3% average click-through rate, and £5.6K sales directly from email and assisted branch and other online sales.

For the campaigns featuring product recommendation blocks based on browsing or purchasing behavior they are seeing much higher engagement – average open rate has increased from 28% to 45% and average click-through rate from 2.5% to 5%.

The abandoned basket campaign (sent 40 minutes after abandonment) resulted in an impressive 44% open rate and, more importantly, £66,446 in recovered value – that’s a 2.9% sales uplift overall.

What are they planning next?

The Wolseley team are now looking to implement a suite of automated customer journeys. A welcome program – personalized to reflect customer specialisms – is already in the pipeline, along with triggered email campaigns based on online behaviors.

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