The Rush to Cyber Monday

Friday, November 28, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Last week, Listrak’s Ross Kramer shared with Internet Retailer that many top retailers were ignoring Thanksgiving and jumping right into holiday promotions. Likewise, today, on one of the top three shopping days of the year, Listrak’s Megan Ouellet and I are seeing top retailers skipping right over Black Friday to begin promoting Cyber Monday.
Here are a few examples:
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Are you seeing the same? Do you think this is a smart move or a missed opportunity?

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An Interesting Thanksgiving Email

Friday, November 28, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Travis Buck
It isn’t often I see a retail email hit my inbox that isn’t trying to get you to buy something. Especially this time of year with all the holiday sales and promotions flooding the inbox. However, occasionally something shows up that surprises me. This email from Blu Dot doesn’t feature a product, special promotion or discount of any sort. Instead it’s a simple message that says “Thank You”. In fact, there’s no call-to-action at all. It’s a personal message that’s sentimental and reminds you there are human beings behind the emails you receive.

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A Great Holiday Email Strategy Starts with Better Segmentation

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

We recently shared some tips on holiday segmentation strategies for a blog post for our partners at Magento: 


If you’re wondering where to begin in planning your Holiday 2014 email strategy, a great place to start is Holiday 2013. How much did you make in the email channel last season? How much did you make per week? Per day? How many emails did you send to make that number?
This historical information will really help you maximize the subscribers you already have. Next, look at where you’re getting the highest conversions. Triggered campaigns, although they may only account for a fraction of your overall emails sent, historically convert at a higher rate than broadcast emails, so make sure your cart abandonment and browse and abandon campaigns, transactional emails and back-in-stock alerts are all in tip-top shape.
Now, take a look at revenue earned in 2013 from segmented vs. un-segmented email. Clearly segmented emails outperform blasts to your entire list, so sharpen your segmentation strategy for the holiday season. Keep in mind the unique dynamics of your customers during Holiday. We recommend segmenting them into three key groups and targeting them differently:
1) Holiday buyers
2) Active buyers and
3) 60+ day subscribers

2013 Holiday Buyers


This group of subscribers purchased last year between Halloween and New Year’s Eve, but have not been active since. Clearly, the strategy for this segment is to win them back.
While leading with a deep discount or great offer may seem like the obvious thing to do, the good news is that it’s not always necessary. In this campaign, for example, Robert Graham simply reminds subscribers why the brand is different and why the subscriber should come back:
The Grommet, on the other hand, takes a different, creative approach by offering a mystery discount and noting holiday savings specifically:
In addition, you may want to target the sub segment of this group that purchased gift cards during Holiday 2013 and remind them about this great, convenient option.

Active 2014 Buyers


The holiday season is a perfect time to recognize active buyers for their loyalty. Remember, even your best buyers can become distracted by a busy inbox this time of year, so now is the time to make sure you express your gratitude for their business and give them a reason to keep coming back.
Pinup Girl does a great job of this—and sees a significant return—with its loyalty campaign: 
Fortunately, often no discounting is needed for this group.
And here’s a bonus idea: While active buyers may be purchasing for themselves throughout the year (even during the holiday season), they may not automatically think of your brand to purchase for others.Naturopathica creatively—and effectively—addressed this situation last year with a social campaign that asked loyal customers to share what they would give as gifts and why, and then used the testimonials in a daily email campaign:

60+ Day Subscribers Not Yet Converted


The next important segment to focus on in your holiday planning is subscribers you’ve acquired in the past 60 days who have not made a first purchase. As inboxes begin filling up, it is crucial to get this group’s attention with creative subject lines, and more importantly, with subject lines that inspire them to click.
Of our three segments, this is the one you may need to offer heavy discounting to as well as create urgency. This recent email from Swellfeatures several elements that increase your chances of spurring a first purchase:
With the increased site traffic the holiday season brings, it’s a perfect time to acquire new subscribers, but don’t forget that, with strategic segmentation, your current list can be maximized to boost your revenue this holiday season.
And finally, it’s not too soon to start integrating holiday themes into your emails. At just 35 days, it’s once again a short season, and you can rest assured that other retailers will be working hard to make the most of every day, too.
Be creative, like Pick Your Plum, who recently kicked off the season with this clever promotion:
Or, take a cue from Papyrus, who is rewarding shoppers for starting early:
For more on these strategies and additional resources explore our holiday tookit.
Listrak is a single, integrated digital marketing platform specifically tailored for retailers. Listrak helps retailers go beyond traditional broadcast emails to make campaigns more relevant and engaging by marrying click-stream behavior and purchase history within a big data product recommendations and personalization suite.

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How Top Retailers are Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Emails in My Inbox

Monday, November 24, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Listrak’s Ross Kramer shared his findings in an article for Internet Retailer posted on November 20, 2014: 
Surprisingly few major retailers are emphasizing Thanksgiving in their marketing email the week before Turkey Day. Apparently, most merchants few Thanksgiving as just the first day in the crucial Thanksgiving-Black Friday-Cyber Monday retail trifecta, says Listrak CEO Ross Kramer.
The short holiday season is in full swing for retailers, who are attempting to ease shoppers’ stress and get sales started with gift guides and enticing promotions. So how are retailers (other than the obvious purveyors of food and holiday decor) taking time in the middle of the madness to acknowledge Thanksgiving?
With Nov. 27 just a week away, we have seen very few Thanksgiving-themed emails, however, a few from Internet Retailer Top 1000 merchants have caught my attention: 
A handful of top retailers are hopping on the shipping promises bandwagon early, which is a great way to create urgency, secure the first sale of the season, and open the door for more opportunities to engage. I’m not sure if Gap, No. 19 in the IR Top 500, is marketing to folks who exchange holiday gifts on Thanksgiving Day or to those who just want to look their best at the table with this promotion:
But most likely the latter, based on an email earlier in the month with the subject line “we’re thankful for…these 10 pieces” that featured this Thanksgiving survival guide:
The purpose of Pier 1 Imports’ shipping promotion for the shopper who wants to spruce up the Thanksgiving table is a little more obvious:
And Burt’s Bees Baby takes an altogether different approach with the subject line “Bee creative this Thanksgiving with ideas from our Pinterest Board!” and this email that is not at all product-focused, but does subtly promote a sale:
J. Crew positions the week of Thanksgiving as the official kick-off to the holiday season, offering “dos & don’ts to get you through this superfestive-yet-sometime-stressful season,” including a 30% sale with urgent promo code:
With a limited number of days to promote holiday gift-giving, I’m not surprised to see many retailers treating Thanksgiving as little more than the first day in the crucial Thanksgiving-Black Friday-Cyber Monday retail trifecta. But whether officially acknowledging Thanksgiving or not, emails from wise retailers all have something in common this time of the season: They are all working hard to engage subscribers and get them browsing and buying, so retailers can collect as much data as possible to optimize their predictive analytics and present each shopper with the most relevant, personalized product recommendations in subsequent holiday campaigns.
And with that tall order before them, what retail email marketers are surely thankful for this hectic holiday season is automated solutions.
Listrak provides e-mail marketing services to 61 of the Internet Retailer Top 1000 web merchants.

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Make Your Customers Feel Special

Thursday, November 20, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customers feel they are being treated? Nothing makes customers feel more special than an exclusive offer.
Retailers use Email Exclusive offers in a number of ways:
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Opening messages that offer an email exclusive offer makes customers feel good about sharing their email address - and customers that feel good about a brand are simply more likely to buy.

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The Gift of Guidance

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Holiday Gift Guides are a perfect way of making the shopping journey easy for your customers. Anything you can do to present gift ideas in an organized and simple-to-shop way is great. I’m seeing an array of  gift guides in emails this holiday season, and while those that segment products by gender and price point are helpful, a few that have gone a step further have caught my eye and made some retailers truly stand out from the rest:
Listrak client The Grommet started off the season early with this email that arrived before Halloween with the subject line Get inspired for the gift-giving season with The Grommet Gift Page:
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The “Give Differently” theme is a wonderful way to introduce the unique way product offerings are organized. The Grommet then followed up with this email featuring popular products:
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The 10 recommended gifts in this long, scrolling email from Sephora were nice, but it was the personalized header that really caught my attention:
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And this creative email from Brit + Co, does a good job of trying to live up to its subject line, It’s Here: The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide:
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…and was followed up by an equally amusing White Elephant Gift Guide that features products that absurd, unexpected and even delightful, just as the copy promises:
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Being amused is good enough for me now, since I have not yet begun shopping, but the Gift Guides that I know I will truly appreciate once I do begin frantically searching is those that present with me products based on what I’m looking for online and have purchased before.
Have you seen any interesting Gift Guides yet this season? 

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Subtle and Sophisticated Holiday Messages

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet

There is no doubt that retailers are in full holiday mode…as they should be. But we’re still more than a week away from Thanksgiving and even though shoppers are already buying gifts, it doesn’t mean that everyone is ready for all of the holiday images.

That’s why I really like the following emails I received this morning. All three clearly bring to mind holiday gifts and parties, but the images and messages are more subtle and sophisticated:
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I especially love the 12 gift ideas, which is reminiscent of The 12 Days of Christmas, and the suggestions on who these gifts would be perfect for, such as wife, teacher, mentor, girlfriend, mom, grandmother, cousin, friend, etc.

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Sometimes More is More

Monday, November 17, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Megan Ouellet
I received this message from UrbanOG and was very impressed with the way the products were merchandised. Long, scrolling emails are definitely a trend right now, but in some cases, the messages look cluttered or are simply too much. Not in this case! Even though there are a lot of products featured in this email, there is very little text and everything is organized just right:

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Happy Birthday to Me: Gifts in My Inbox

Monday, November 17, 2014 Listrak 0 Comments

Listrak CEO Ross Kramer recently shared with Multichannel Merchant the many ways that retailers helped him to celebrate his birthday. The article appeared November 17, 2014: 
While broadcast campaigns produce the lion’s share of email marketing revenue for retailers, triggered campaigns – like birthday messages – produce the highest ROI. Having just celebrated a November birthday, I noted some trends that popular merchants are implementing to help subscribers celebrate their birthdays.
Timing
Nearly half of all the birthday messages I received arrived in my inbox on the first of the month, and about a quarter arrived on my actual birthday. While the first of the month makes sense, because offers are typically good for the subscriber’s birth month, it is a little less personal than receiving a message on the exact day. Sundance Catalog creatively addressed this with a message that works beautifully for all birthdays -except those that fall on the first:
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Offers
Half of the birthday offers I received were 20% off my next purchase, and most were good for both online and in store for those retailers with brick-and-mortar locations. Those that were more generous percentage-wise required a minimum purchase, like these from Kenneth Cole and Trina Turk:
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It was interesting to see that a few merchants offered a free gift with purchase instead, which we find is a quite effective and seemingly generous promotion that actually doesn’t have to cost the retailer much:
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It was also interesting to see that while 7 For All Mankind offered the standard 20% off, they also took the opportunity to ask for a gift in return, so to speak, by requesting that I Instagram a photo of myself celebrating in their jeans:
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Personalization

Nearly none of the birthday emails I received featured products, and therefore did not offer much opportunity for personalization. A few retailers did attempt to personalize by gender, however, but actually got it wrong because they evidently based their segmentation on something other than my name, like my email address or browse behavior:
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It’s hard to tell whether or not this email from Brooklyn Industries, a retailer of apparel for both men and women, is personalized based on gender, but it definitely caught my eye because of its creative design:
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Making it about me

In addition to being mostly void of product, I noticed that most of my birthday emails were in fact very subtle in terms of branding in general:
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While this may seem like a missed opportunity, I believe it’s actually a very intelligent move on the part of merchants to take this unique, once a year opportunity to make it totally about the subscriber, which is refreshing and surely helps to strengthen brand loyalty.
A tip for you
If you embark on investing time and resources into building a birthday campaign email, you might want to take the opportunity to add one more triggered message to your cadre of highly engaging, triggered campaigns – a half birthday campaign. This unexpected message serves to communicate on a personal level with the recipient and celebrates that she’s halfway to a birthday. In my experience this campaign performs about half as well as the birthday campaign, however, it will deliver lots more revenue and engagement than the broadcast campaign you would otherwise be sending the recipient on that day.

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