Using Email to Drive In-Store Sales

Monday, July 29, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

Ann Taylor sent this email to customers this morning. It stood out to me because of its clear CTA - go to the store.
Email is such a boost to online sales so I thought it was interesting that  Ann Taylor would use the email to drive in-store traffic.
I clicked on the “find a store" link and was taken to this landing page:
Again, I found this interesting. This email and landing page do not promote the fall preview at all - it simply wants customers to go into a store to see the new arrivals in person.
The email does include a link to the online summer sale items, so customers can shop online if they choose. And the landing page also has a link to the new arrivals. But in order to view the fall preview online, customers not only have to click twice, they have to navigate their own way and find it by themselves. 
The point is clear - Ann Taylor wants the customers to go to the stores and work with a stylist instead of fending for themselves. They even request that customers make an appointment before they go in.
I’m willing to bet that the people who do go in and work with a stylist have a much higher AOV than the people who buy online. And they are also more likely to be repeat and loyal customers.
It is an interesting email tactic and one you should keep in mind for the holidays as it could be a great way to invite customers to shop in your stores and not just on your website.


10 Tips to Holiday Email Marketing Success - Part Two

Friday, July 19, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

In a previous post, you learned five strategic tips that will help you set up your email campaigns for success this holiday season. Below are five more tips and best practices.
But first, here are some interesting stats from the 2012 holiday season. The numbers below represent online sales and the increase over 2011:
  • Online holiday sales - $42.3B / +14%
  • Thanksgiving - $633M / +32%
  • Black Friday - $1.042B / +28%
  • Cyber Monday - $1.465B / +17%
  • Green Monday - $1.275B / +13%
  • Free Shipping Day - $1.013B / +76%
  • Christmas Day - $288M / +36%
And here are some interesting mobile stats from last year:
  • 33% of eCommerce holiday traffic was from a mobile device / +109%
  • Mobile conversions increased 30% and mobile sales increased 171%
Keep in mind that the NRF is expecting a 4.1% increase in online sales this holiday season, and there are 6 fewer shopping days, which means 6 fewer days to email your customers. You can’t just dust off your campaigns from last year and give them a quick update – your entire strategy will need a reboot. 
Tip 6 – Two words: responsive design
If you implement just one new strategy this holiday season, it should be this one. More than half of all opened emails are currently being opened on a mobile device, and that number is on the rise. If you aren’t using responsive design email templates – don’t wait! Responsive design templates not only scale to fit the screen, but also provide the flexibility to hide, reveal or stack content so the right message is displayed. Your email campaigns will look its best no matter where customers are viewing them. Listrak is releasing a whitepaper on responsive design best practices next week, so stay tuned!
Tip 7 – If using characters in subject lines, use them correctly
Special characters can really help your message stand out in a crowded inbox. However, only use them if it enhances the message and be strategic about it. Never use more than one symbol in a subject line and don’t use them every time because it can easily become spammy. Special characters work best in the first 20 characters of the subject line to ensure it will be viewed on a mobile device, and work really well if replacing a word or as a design element at the beginning and end of the subject line. It should never be used in place of punctuation.
Tip 8 – Re-engage before the holidays
This email from Toms was one of my favorites last year. I received it the third week of October and loved the simplicity. “We’ve missed you! Come on back and be the first to shop the Toms 2012 holiday collection. Get new seasonal styles before anyone else!” It was sent earlier enough in the season to make it feel like I really would be one of the first holiday shoppers, and it gave me a reason to re-engage with the brand.
 Tip 9 – Be unique, but be yourself
There is so much right with this email Uncommon Goods sent last December, it’s crazy! First, it used customer ratings and reviews for each product mentioned in the email, which is one of the greatest things you can do to boost sales. Next, it arranged the products in a fun and clever way that kept recipients engaged and scrolling through (it was quite long but was fun to read). And, at the bottom, it asked recipients to vote on the next best seller – it didn’t ask them to buy anything, it simply let customers vote on which products to include in future email campaigns. What a great way to get customers to visit the site!  
Tip 10 – Have a contingency plan
The holidays are the busiest time of year for most eCommerce companies and, invariably, something at some point will go wrong. An email will go out with a missing or broken link. A product sells out faster than expected and you don’t have time to stop a pre-scheduled email promoting that product. An email that was meant to go to a small segment accidently goes to your entire list. Mistakes like this are common and forgivable if handled correctly and in a timely fashion.  Having a contingency plan in place will help you out tremendously when you’re facing an emergency. Put together a resolution team and decide what errors will warrant an apology or follow up email, what the tone will be, which errors call for a new discount or sale extension, if you’ll send the follow up email to everyone who received the message or only the people who opened it, etc.  Also, remember that it’s not the end of the world and don’t over-react. Here’s a great example from Chinese Laundry. An email went out last year with a broken link. As soon as it realized the mistake, it resent the email, simply adding “Oops our link is fixed” to the subject line.
Any questions on these ideas? Let me know – you can contact me here.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll post some additional email examples from last year so you can see how other retailers interacted with their holiday shoppers.


Email Engagement Using a Welcome Series

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

I recently received two questions regarding welcome messages.  I initially stated that it isn’t necessarily easily answered with specifics.  Listrak is always keen on having a chat about the details first.  However, I offered up some broad strokes to help get the conversation started.
“How many different welcome emails should we create?”
I would say that you should have one unique message for each unique acquisition touch point.  So, you may have the following messages:
1) New Organic subscriber Welcome (Pop-up, simple form, etc.)
2) New Customer Welcome (Marketing message for new customers being added to the list for the first time.)
3) New Preference Center Subscriber Welcome (Welcome for subscribers who are offering up more data than just email.)
4) Additional Touch Points (In Store, Special Event, Social Media, etc)
Those messages may all be mostly the same with a small change to some copy, content, or call to action.
Additionally, I would recommend two follow-up emails that occur after the initial welcome message.  These can be generic enough to fit into the messaging requirements of each audience.
“Also, do you have any insights as to what types of messages work best?”
As for messages, I think the following three messages work well:
1) Welcome 1 – Thank You for reaching out, Welcome to our brand, Here is what you can expect, Here is the most important thing you need to know.  This will include specific language that speaks to the funnel through which the subscriber entered.
2) Welcome 2 – Our brand is important (or products), This is why we are different, This is why you can feel “safe” buying from us (trust, awareness, exclusivity, scarcity, etc.)
3) Welcome 3 – There are a few more things you must know about us, here they are…  
Although these are clearly broad strokes, it may give you the starting point you were looking for.  The broad strokes can be distilled down by having a more detailed discussion about your audience, products, brand standards, marketing goals, KPIs, and more.


Using Google Analytics to Identify Important Holidays

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 Listrak 0 Comments

This blog post comes to us from our friends at Blue Acorn, an award-winning, full-service eCommerce agency. It was written by Conversion Consultant Amanda Graham (be sure to read her bio below!).
As you begin your email marketing strategy planning for the upcoming holiday season, in addition to the obvious promotions, make sure to include a plan for any secondary holidays, as well. Amanda explains how to identify them.  
Everyone knows about Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season. With few exceptions, it is the most active time of the year for eCommerce sites, but what about other holidays? Most eCommerce stores have at least one other holiday bump. Think of the other holiday bump as a secondary holiday that drives traffic and sales. Somewhere in Google Analytics, there is data pointing to a secondary holiday spike.
You may not believe you have a secondary holiday, but trust me you do. To identify your secondary holiday, simply log into Google Analytics (or another web analytics platform) and research your traffic over the past year. Do you see spikes? Next, look at revenue throughout the past year. Do you see corresponding spikes?
A spike in traffic and revenue does not necessarily directly correlate to a secondary holiday. It is possible you are looking at spike caused by a successful campaign or massive public relations bump.
By always carefully annotating your web analytics account, you can quickly dismiss campaign/PR spikes and consult your calendar to determine what people were celebrating.
multichannelfunnel for advanced tagging
For example, you might frequently see a spike near the 3rd Saturday in August and discover the indicated date correlates with: International Geocaching Day! That explains why during this time your eCommerce store sells so many GPS devices and flashlights. Not all secondary holidays are as eclectic as International Geocaching Day; some are very obvious such as a beer t-shirt eCommerce site’s secondary holidays, St. Patrick’s Day and Spring Break.
Once you have discovered your secondary holiday, it is important to target visitors during this time period and determine how they are finding your site. Not all holidays are the same. For example you may find visitors convert very well from affiliate sites during the Christmas holiday season, but observe a negative ROI from affiliates during your secondary holiday. Using Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics allows you to discover what visitor paths convert best and use that information to better target your visitors during any holiday season.
What to do about a spike is important, but the first step is simply finding out when. Take a few minutes today to check out your site data in order to discover your hidden secondary holidays.
Check out the original blog post here.


Amanda is our resident scientist at Blue Acorn. You won’t find any contractions or oxford commas in her articles. She’s always quick to pick up on new techniques and even faster at teaching them to us. We count ourselves lucky to have her here. In her free time, she volunteers for the Analysis Exchange, a group that offers free web analytics consulting to nonprofits and NGOs around the world. She spends the rest of her spare time hanging out with Charley, her wicked-cool miniature schnauzer, who you can also follow on Twitter @charleydoggy.