Holiday Insights: Get Gift Card Savvy

Friday, December 18, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

Christmas is only six days away. If you haven't finished shopping yet, chances are you'll be picking up some gift cards in the next few days. And you won't be alone. 67% of consumers will purchase at least one gift card this holiday season and more than one in every four digital gift cards sold in December are purchased between Dec. 21 and 24*. So you still have time.

Gift cards are important for any retailer as the average shopper spends an extra 20% beyond the card value when redeeming and 75% of those shoppers who overspend spend 60% more*.  But the benefits don't end there.

Gift cards can and should be an acquisition point - not just for the buyer but the receiver as well. Sephora does an excellent job with its gift card strategy.

First, it promotes eGift cards as it would any other product, making it easy for last minute shoppers to purchase and offering an incentive to do so.

It asks for the recipient's email address for delivery and you may also choose to add their mobile number so they receive a text message with a link to view the gift card online.

It not only sends the buyer an email confirmation upon purchase, but also when the gift card has been viewed:

Taking this strategy to the next level, your email and text messages to the recipient could include an opt-in link so you can continue to market to them. The recipients could be new to your brand or first time buyers and you want to do everything you can to engage them on an ongoing basis. It's the first step towards building long-term and loyal customers.

Happy shopping!


Research Study: Increase Gift Card Sales and Redemption


Interactive Digital Displays In-Store

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

I love to shop. Nearly every purchase I make is online - clothing, household items, even cat food. I shop so much that the Google Street View of my house shows several boxes on my front porch. But, until recently, I would only visit a store if I needed to return something I purchased online.

Shopping was easier for me online. I could easily browse through categories and quickly purchase the items I wanted. I didn't have to wander around stores aimlessly in hopes something caught my eye, or dig through sales racks, or ask an associate if my size was in stock if it wasn't on the floor. I could read customer reviews and could get an idea about the quality and sizing. And I always found the recommended products based on my purchase history to be helpful.

However, as more retailers are adding phigital experiences, I'm finding myself shopping in stores again. It's the best of both worlds - I can see and touch and try on and purchase the products I love while still having the online tools, such as product reviews or inventory available or even recommendations, available.

One of the best experiences I've had recently was at Pier1 imports. I visited its store and saw this display in the furniture section:

I went over to take a closer look. The display housed different samples of fabrics and panels and allowed you to design your own furniture, order it, and have it available for pickup 10 days later in the store. But that wasn't all.

It had an acquisition point where I could signup to receive emails and/or catalogs. Many interactive displays that I've encountered lately are missing this option so I was very pleasantly surprised to find it here. And I opted in to receive emails.

I took the opportunity to browse through Pier1 imports's Christmas catalog and found several products I liked. I was then able to see if they were available in the store and I ended up purchasing several of the items.

This experience was truly a good one. I was able to find what I was looking for quickly without browsing the entire store. Anything that can save time is a definite winner in my book!

Have you had any great shopping experiences like this one lately? I'd love to hear about it.


Interactive In-Store Displays

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

by Kate Lowry, VP of Marketing, and Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. This is the fifth and final post in our series regarding a recent shopping trip in New York City.

Our Listrak Retail Reality trip to NYC and our Sephora visit has been mentioned, but we wanted to take a moment to expand on the experience that we had in the store and the follow-up we have received since our visit, as well as a more recent trip to our local Sephora store in our mall.

I have the Sephora App on my phone, complete with all of my personal settings which made life easier while in the store. When we entered, a sales consultant asked if he could be of any help. I explained that I was looking for new powder foundation, and he suggested trying out the Pocket Contour Class within the Sephora App. This is touted as a step-by-step tutorial based on my personal features using a picture that you take in the store of yourself. The tutorial maps your features right away and provides you with the shape of your face and the preference of foundation. It then walks you through the recommended beauty routine; everything from the shade of foundation to where to apply it, what type of brush to use and the recommended brands. I emailed the new process to myself and set off to find the foundation in the store. This is where the experienced transitioned back from my mobile device to the store associate because I definitely needed his help in navigating the store to find the product.

The stop-by-step contouring guide email that I received provided a visual for the recommended new process as well as the products. In clicking on the products, though, it took me to a page with 10 product results and only one of the three recommended products showed up. While the email was really useful in helping me apply the foundation correctly, it really lacked a clear call to action to purchase the products. By the time I got to the page below I was ready to purchase, but becoming overwhelmed.

Sephora also offers a really useful interactive display in its stores that help customers find the correct foundation color. The sales associate found my perfect match and then offered up a number of options. I asked if the recommendations could be emailed to me and she entered my email address but the email never arrived, which is unfortunate because those recommendations are some of the most personal and useful ones around.

The associate showed me several of the products in the store and suggested that I use Sephora’s app to scan the merchandise that I like so it is saved to my favorites. I would have preferred to receive an email with this information but this tool was helpful.

I made my selections and went to the counter to checkout. But I had the app open and noticed the “mobile offers” option so I asked the cashier if there were any special offers I could apply to my purchase. Another useful shopping tool! I asked for an eReceipt and was told that all of my purchases are available in the app, which I can use if I need to return any products or if I’d like to reorder any of the merchandise.

Overall, Sephora is doing a nice job with its app; it’s one of the most comprehensive ones out there, but when it comes to cross-channel email promotions and finalizing the sale, it could make this more seamless.

If you're thinking about adding interactive displays in your stores, be sure that the technology you're investing in will actually help customers shop and, more importantly, purchase. Don't add technology just for the sake of it. Questions? We'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!


Retail of the Future is Here

Tuesday, December 08, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

By Tawnya Amdor, vice president of client services
This is the fourth post in our series regarding a recent shopping trip in New York City.

It wasn’t that long ago that the industry was saying, “Retail stores are dead!” and “The malls of America are empty and closing for good!” But with a new focus on interaction and engagement with consumers in retailers such as Rebecca Minkoff and Ralph Lauren, there could be a whole new world of retail.

Retailers have been trying to find ways to combat the notion that stores are dead and that consumers don’t want to engage with them on a one-on-one basis. And consumers are telling them they want to engage, but in a new digital way.

Take Rebecca Minkoff, for example, and the now famous magic mirror. Consumers really like the feel of control and assistance it puts at their fingertips, literally. In a way, it is a personal shopper that knows shoppers best by what information they provide to it. In fact, according to Rebecca, the experience is much like her personally giving individual clients customized recommendations. As she told Fortune, “Now we are helping in a way that is more meaningful…I can be the person they are getting a great recommendation from”.

Polo Ralph Lauren recently launched a similar magic mirror experience, New Balance uses touchscreens to allow shoppers to custom design sneakers, Sephora captures images of customers’ faces in order to deliver customized contouring instructions via email…and the list of “phigital” experiences goes on

So what does this all mean? It means the stores of the future we all talked about so many years ago are here in a small way, and soon to be a bigger way. Many retailers are looking for ways to engage their consumers while they are in store. How this is done is critical, and the key to success is driven by the experience they deliver to the consumer, what they are able to capture about the consumer, and more importantly, what they plan to do with that information. 

And of course, retailers should not just do something for the sake of doing it. In-store technology must be adapted to each particular business, product and brand, and the experience must end with a drive to a sale. That is the goal ultimately, right?


Three Good Reasons to Stop Saying Welcome

Friday, December 04, 2015 Listrak 1 Comments

by Laurel Morse. As Manager of Copywriting and Content Strategy for our Professional Services department, I've created, received, and reviewed many (many) welcome emails throughout my career, for brands in and out of the eComm realm. I’ve formed some pretty strong opinions by melding my personal take-aways with the research that other email industry leaders have conducted, and I’ll share my recommendations with you throughout this series. Without further ado...

I'm going to say the one thing you probably wouldn't expect from a post about welcome emails, but I promise I have my reasons: for the love of all things good in this world, please stop using the word "welcome" in your welcome campaigns*. I know that sounds like crazy advice from an delusional email nerd who spends way too much time in her inbox, so let me explain my reasoning:

Reason #1: because it's cliché. If for no other reason than that, choose verbiage that your subscriber hasn't already seen from a huge number of other brands. Be different – use your brand's voice to speak to your subscribers in a way they deserve, and don't just fall back to the obvious and expected.

Reason #2: because it doesn’t make sense. You’re not actually welcoming them anywhere. The subscriber was just on your website a moment ago and is still on some kind of computer, using their inbox. They haven't physically entered into your email or your storefront, so you're not actually welcoming them to anything real. Say something more meaningful, like "Pleased to meet you" or "We're so happy you subscribed" (in whatever phrasing best suits your brand).

Reason #3: because it’s not worth the real estate. It’s fluff. Your home page doesn't say "welcome" when someone lands on it because everyone understands that website real estate is far too important for that. Email is a very profitable marketing medium, so don’t treat your welcome campaign’s prime real estate any differently than your website’s. The subject line, preheader, and hero area are the 1st content areas a new subscriber is going to see when they open your email, so use this space to say something valuable, interesting, different, and compelling.

Whatever you end up choosing, I recommend keeping it short and sweet to bait the user into opening and clicking-through to your site. With your subject line, you only have about 40 characters to work with, so make them count. Advertise the incentive they signed up for or include catchier copy to make sure you get the open. And remember to use carefully crafted preheader text to supplement the subject line in inboxes and capture the user’s interest.

*I do have one caveat. If your welcome series is greeting users who signed up to use your service – like an app or something else truly interactive – then saying “welcome” makes more sense. It’s still not the most creative phrasing – and it definitely still is cliché – but you’re speaking to a user who will interact with your brand in a more tangible way, so you can more easily make it work.

What do you think? Do you agree? We'd love to hear your opinon on this subject.

If you want to learn more on this topic, check out my blog "Give Your Welcome Series a Makeover" and "Would You Date Your Welcome Series?"

Research Study: Welcome Series Concepts and Strategies


Cross-Channel Marketing: Engaging Customers in Store

Tuesday, December 01, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

by Kara Surrena, Director of Client Services. This is the third in our series regarding a recent shopping trip in New York City. Read the first one here and the second one here.

The New Balance store in Midtown Manhattan offers a truly foot-centric digital experience. Amongst the typical shoes and socks that you would find in a traditional shoe store, this New Balance location also offers a variety of interactive touchscreens and kiosks to help each unique customer find the right footwear, personalized for them.

When you enter the store, you quickly arrive at the first kiosk which intuitively guides you to build and order customized New Balance shoes. You can really let your creativity drive at this station— blue shoes with pink accents? Yes, please!

Continuing on through the store, you pass a large window called, “Maker’s Corner.” This space provides you a view into how New Balance shoes are made— the tools, the materials, the equipment— all on-site. Certain styles are available to be created here, by a “Maker” in the store. To order, simply use kiosk #2, a tablet located in front of the window. 

Lastly, towards the rear of the store there is a final kiosk, and this one includes a platform! Remove your shoes, step on, and this system will analyze your feet to help you find the best New Balance shoes for you. After running the analysis, the system’s screen displays the results, a foot mapping image, and recommends a few New Balance styles that align with your personal analysis. 

Following this screen, the system provides the ability to enter your email address and receive the information from your foot scan. Of course, I signed up and quickly received an email with the subject line, “Your Feet Image.” The email itself then offered me an opportunity to share my feet on social media and of course, I did just that! New Balance certainly ensures that your feet are the center of attention when visiting their store in Midtown, and even after the visit!

While this is definitely a great engagement factor, New Balance could have taken the opportunity to recommend the best shoes for my feet. But the foot scanner was a great in-store acquisition point.


Five Retail Marketing Strategies and Tactics for 2016

Monday, November 30, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

It’s an exciting time to be a retailer! With eCommerce retailers opening stores, stores becoming more digital and the Internet of Things moving from concept to reality, the path to purchase has drastically changed. Customers have more options but fewer choices – they no longer have to decide where or how to shop – they simply shop at their convenience.

2015 has been the year of personalization as the technology allowing deep segmentation and personal recommendations based on both purchase history and behavior can automate many of these communications. In fact, 54% of all consumers would consider no longer shopping with a retailer that didn’t provide personalized and relevant information. But what should retail marketers expect in 2016?

Content Personalization and User Generated Content

2016 will be the year of content marketing as retailers will find new ways to keep customers engaged and enhance their shopping experiences. 81% of all shoppers do online research before visiting a store and shoppers are looking for information at every stage of the journey – before, during and even after the purchase. More importantly, 80% of shoppers would prefer to get their product information from articles than ads.

Shoppers are looking for content that will help them make their purchase decisions, such as ratings and reviews. And they are looking for information to help them make the most of their purchases – such as product care tips. Retailers have to be creative in order to keep customers engaged. For example, if a customer buys a scarf, the retailer should send an email with a link to a video or blog post offering 15 interesting ways to wear the scarf. This type of personal content should be used in every communication.

Even better, retailers should make their customers the star by promoting user generated content, not only in the form of ratings and reviews but by using real customer photos in promotional pieces, by asking customers to provide feedback on products and using that in product descriptions and requesting customer information for use in product videos or tutorials.

Interactive Marketing

As retailers add more and more technology to their stores, bringing the phigital experience to life, they have even more ways to interact with customers and capture data. Magic Mirrors, clienteling, touchscreens, Occulus Rift and interactive displays in stores allow shoppers to interact with brands and products in fun new ways while enhancing the shopping experience by aiding in product discovery while reducing time and barriers to checkout.

Mobile enables a lot of these interactions. Beacons send push messages to customers while they’re in store, offering coupons or product information. Mobile shopping apps allow customers to check inventory or receive additional product details immediately. Social sites, like Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter, let customers interact with brands and other customers, sharing information, pictures and videos. This level of interaction leads to loyal customers and brand ambassadors.

Cross-Channel Marketing

Customers already expect a seamless shopping experience as they move from store to site to mobile device, but many retailers are still struggling to provide this. In 2016, the data silos will be removed once and for all as omnichannel data hubs, such as Listrak’s, make it easy for retailers to store and use the data from everyone channel in one central location.

In many cases, the shopper’s email address is the universal identifier as it is used online, in mobile shopping apps and in-store during the checkout process. It also makes it possible for retailers to identify customers across devices. For example, if a customer is logged into a retailer’s site on their laptop at work and adds items to her cart and then later, at home, she visits the site on her iPad and completes the purchase, the retailer now knows those two devices are the same account. To take it a step further, if the same customer opens the order confirmation email on her mobile device, all three devices can be tied to the same account. This makes it possible for retailers to serve up personalized content to that customer no matter where or how she shops.

Email Still Reigns

Email has been the top performing marketing channel for the past decade, returning $38 per $1 spent in 2015. And it will remain in the top spot for 2016 as long as retailers keep up with the trends.

As mentioned earlier, personalization is key. Even broadcast emails can and should be personalized based on past purchases and online behavior. Automation will play an even bigger role as triggered messages are used to nurture customers through the buying journey while extending their lifecycles. And the amount of customer data will lead to true 1:1 marketing through deep segmentation and targeting.

The Landscape of Stores will change

Department stores haven't changed much in the past 100 years. See for yourself. This was taken at the Joseph Horne Co. department store in Pittsburgh in early 1920:

Until now. Many retailers are now designing stores to fit into communities, using local materials, artists and craftsman to build stores that reflect the area they are in instead of creating cookie-cutter stores that are exactly the same in every location throughout the country.

And many stores include space for community activities, such as a yoga class, poetry slam, music studio or gym. Others simply design events to enhance the shopping experience, such as a whiskey tasting or an onsite expert who will teach customers how to iron a shirt or correctly fold clothes while packing a suitcase. Some retailers offer customers memberships to participate in the events while others are open to the public. These events drive traffic to the store and keep customers coming back.

Are you ready for the future? Mobile will become even more influential and social marketing will find its stride. Customers will shop and interact with retailers in fun and engaging new ways. User generated content will become something that both retailers and shoppers rely on. But the basics - great content and personalized email messages that are targeted to each customer - will remain at the center of your digital marketing strategy.

Join us at one of our events in NY or CA in early February to learn how you can accomplish all of this and more. This event is open to retail marketers and you can receive 50% off registration with discount code Listrak50.

Feb. 2, 2016
Convene - New York City

Feb. 11, 2016
Pelican Hill Resort - Newport Beach


Retail Reality: Thoughts from Listrak's Shopping Trip in NYC

Monday, November 30, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

by Kate Lowry, VP of Marketing. This is the second in our series regarding a recent shopping trip in New York City. Read the first one here.

On Listrak’s recent Manhattan Retail Reality Roadtrip, our group visited many stores located in Chelsea, Soho and along 5th Avenue. Even as an avid online shopper, I still love shopping in-store. It provides a totally different experience than online does and allows me to interact better with both the products and the brand. Many of the stores we visited provided an exceptional in-store experience; one of the things that resonated the most was how engaged and attentive the store associates were. The group's primary goal was to check out the latest technology, see how it was being used in brick and mortar locations and how it tied the customer back to the online experience, if at all.

Some brands, like Rebecca Minkoff, really offered an in-store experience that you wanted to savor, quite literally with the drink assortments they offered, but the welcome and engaging nature of the store associates was just as notable. The well-talked about magic mirrors in the store only added to the interaction with the brand and the store associate. The two worked seamlessly together. And as a loyal Rebecca Minkoff customer, I would make the trip to their Soho Flagship store just to test out the new mirror technology in the fitting rooms. They were well lit, working properly, integrated well with the sales associates and overall easy to use. It made the experience fun and unique as a customer.


On a whim, our group decided to visit the Lands End Pop-Up store on 5th Avenue and were pleasantly surprised by how welcoming the sales associates were and how warm and cozy the store was. They even had a hot chocolate bar upstairs with the most amazing peppermint cookies. And while the store experience was one of my favorite of the 20+ stores we visited, all of their iPads weren’t working and the computer hidden in the back corner was also not working. The technology divide between online and in-store was pretty apparent, but did it ruin my experience at the store? Not really.

Sprinkles Cupcakes, who served me the best salted caramel cupcake I’ve ever tasted, allowed me to order a cupcake via their “Cupcake ATM,” but didn’t ask for my email or phone. Personally, after how amazing that cupcake was, I would love to continue the experience with them, but they have no way to contact me. That was a disappointment.

Other stores such as Samsung had a bar of phones set up where you could choose from designs and have it printed on a recyclable shopping bag. Pretty cool, right? But when I went to the phone to enter my info and pick my design, the girl behind the counter just told me to pick a design and she’ll make it – no need to use the phone. While, I appreciated the in-store interaction from the sales associate, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of having the phones to showcase their technology?

After visiting Kate Spade, a store that had no technology present in-store for the customer to utilize, was all about the in-store customer experience. I worked with the Store Manager to pick out a pair of earrings and after requesting an e-receipt, my engagement with Kate Spade has risen quickly as they sent me an email asking me about my Kate Spade New York Shopping Experience as well as multiple promotional emails.
 And lastly, I thought Warby Parker was the most fun. Why? Well, because who doesn’t like trying on glasses? From a pure-play startup to a brick and mortar, Warby Parker has created an atmosphere in their Soho store that invites you to try on different styles and even has a photo booth so you can take home your memory of the store. 

I think one of the most poignant takeaways for me was that online and in-store shopping each have their own benefits, but creating an experience that is memorable is by far the best thing a brand can do. The stores that nailed that experience were the ones that ironically had a nice crossover of online and in-store technology so that the conversation could be continued after you left the store with or without a purchase in hand. When adding technology in-store, make sure it makes sense and make sure it connects the dots for the customer in a way that is unique and memorable, but also works.


Where Leading Fashion Retailers are Driving Traffic Black Friday

Friday, November 27, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

By Donna Fulmer, Market Research Manager

Some early reports have indicated that while online shopping is soaring today, traffic at malls is a little lighter than retailers may like. I can attest that my husband - somewhat begrudgingly - got up early on his day off to drive our daughter to her retail job by 5:45 a.m. so she didn't have to fight the traffic and waste time looking for parking - only to find that traffic was light and the parking lot was only a quarter full.

Looking at today's inbox of emails from leading fashion retailers, it seems the light foot traffic may have been anticipated. It will be interesting to see if the efforts seen in these emails help to turn the day around for brick and mortar stores:

Granted, I had to scroll to the bottom of this Forever 21 email, but this is a pretty generous in-store only promotion -

What came earlier this morning from Forever 21, however, was a much stronger push - 

And while this J.Crew email does not promote an in-store only event, it's obvious they want to make it's very easy for me to find my nearest store -

Gap, too, is trying to drive traffic in-store, however, it's unfortunately again at the bottom of a long, scrolling email and  less obvious than the Forever 21 promotion - 

(It's worth noting that of course all of the other emails I have received from fashion omnichannel retailers have clearly communicated that Black Friday deals apply both on-line and in-store.) 

So what about pureplay retailers? Even online only merchants must know that the traditional website is not the only place their customer may want to shop today. Kudos to for this effort to capture shoppers wherever or however they may want to take part in Black Friday deals today: 

How are you driving shoppers to your brick and mortar stores today? 


Cross-Channel Holiday Promotions

Monday, November 23, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn.

It's that time of year again. Mailboxes are stuffed full of holiday catalogs and direct mail pieces. When I was a kid, I loved looking through the Christmas catalogs, circling all of the toys I wanted Santa to bring me. But now I rarely even open them before putting them in the trash. The good news is, I don't have to open them. Many retailers are offering customers additional opportunities to engage and shop right from the back of the catalogs.

Toms offers both a QR code and an incentive to shop online:

Bath and Body Works offers both online and in-store discount codes:

Athleta invites customers into their stores by offering fitness classes, free hemming and styling and BOPIS:

Cremieux invited customers in-store for a happy hour:

giggle advertised their website, stores and shopping apps:

And Chukar Cherries sent me an order form that included the names and addresses of the people I shipped gift baskets to last holiday season. Talk about convenient!

Customers don't shop in a single channel and it's up to the retailers to provide different shopping options and to make the transition seamless.

Speaking of options, I received these two emails recently and they really caught my attention.

Philosophy encourages customers to shop on TV during its QVC broadcast:

And giggle sent a Mobile Monday email offering a discount for customers shopping in its app:

As you can see, there isn't one right way to encourage customers to shop. All you  have to do is provide options and let your customers shop in the channel that is most convenient for them this holiday season.


Let’s Get Phigital: The State of In-Store Technology

Friday, November 20, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

by Megan Ouellet, Director of Content Marketing. Reach out and say hi to Megan on LinkedIn. This is the first in our series regarding a recent shopping trip in New York City.

1 City, 2 Days, 16 people, 32 Stores.

I spent the last two days living out every fashion and retail-lovers in New York City. I went on this shopping trip with 15 Listrak colleagues, including members of our executive team, account managers, developers and other marketing team members. Our goal was to try out the technology and in-store experiences many flagship stores are beginning to offer in order to gain first-hand knowledge.

The technology we saw included magic mirrors, holograms, virtual reality, iBeacons, touchscreens – and there was even robotic luggage storage in our hotel.

Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing more details of our trip and go more in-depth on the retailers we visited and the experiences we had, but I wanted to share some of our best and most exciting findings now.

Magic Mirrors

If you haven’t seen the awesomeness of a magic mirror yet, plan a trip to Polo Ralph Lauren on 5th Ave or the Rebecca Minkoff store in Soho immediately! This is truly the future of retail as they not only enhanced the shopping experience by making it both faster and easier for shoppers to find what they want and checkout but it ties in both mobile and email acquisition points as well. I wanted to note that the staff in both stores was exceptional. It seems that the mirrors give the employees the opportunity to really interact with the customers on a more personal level.


Another useful shopping tool available in many of the stores were touchscreens and iPads that let you explore merchandise, read product reviews and interact digitally. The best ones included a call-to-action to let the shopper sign up for text or email messages. New Balance had two different digital experiences. The first let shoppers customize their own sneakers:

And the second scanned the customer’s feet in order to help them find the best fitting sneakers while allowing customers to email themselves the results. 


Warby Parker has its famous photo booth in store, which provided a lot of fun for the shoppers as well as an acquisition point for the retailer. But that wasn’t the only camera we experienced. Sephora took a photo and then emailed directions on the best way to apply contouring makeup:

And Lego added a cool hologram to the screen when you held up a product in front of it. The hologram was animated and provided a lot fun for the shoppers, but it lacked an acquisition point or additional product information. It was strictly for fun and it really did enhance the shopping experience!

Mobile Integration

We made sure to download each retailer’s app before our shopping trip and the outcome was mixed as connectivity was an issue. One outstanding example was Urban Outfitters where we received a push notification as we were checking out their vinyl.

However, in many cases we tried scanning merchandise to learn more about the products just to be told the products weren’t in stock or we’d just be taken to the product page of the retailer’s site.

Key Takeaways

Retailers, don’t add technology just for the sake of technology. If it doesn’t enhance the shopping experience, don’t bother. Technology that takes away from a buyer’s experience is worthless. However, technology that helps customers connect with you in new ways while helping them explore new products and leading to a faster checkout is definitely worth the investment.

Also, the shopper journey is all about engaging customers in multiple channels and making the experience seamless as shoppers move from the store to your site to their email or mobile device. The channels should not only support each other - think using email to drive traffic to your stores or acquiring email subscribers and mobile numbers in store - but they should all work together to help the customer find and purchase merchandise no matter where they're shopping.

We'll cover this in more detail as the series continues, but let us know if you have any specific questions in the comment section.


Would You Date Your Welcome Series?

Monday, November 16, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

by Laurel Morse
As Manager of Copywriting and Content Strategy for our Professional Services department, I've created, received, and reviewed many (many) welcome emails throughout my career, for brands in and out of the eComm realm. I’ve formed some pretty strong opinions by melding my personal take-aways with the research that other email industry leaders have conducted, and I’ll share my recommendations with you throughout this series. Without further ado...

I had a revelation the other day while chatting with a wonderful client (thanks, Heather – you know who you are) and was able to see this tried-and-true concept in a brand new way: a welcome series campaign is a lot like your first couple dates with someone new. You can begin to lay a strong foundation right there with a few smart moves or ruin it with a few often-made missteps. Hear me out.

When you go on a first date, think about how you’d act. Would you blurt everything out at once? Would you walk up, give a little polite hug, and whisper in their ear where you went to school, what your job is, how much money you make, what kind of car you drive, that you don’t really get along with your parents all that well, that your cat Dwight is your best friend, and that in the next year you want to be married with a baby (named either Caroline or Jack, after your grandparents)?

Not a chance. I mean you could, but please don’t. So why do we dump this kind of overwhelming word-vomit on a brand new subscriber? How is that any different?

Take it easy. Be cool. Let it out in a trickle, not a tidal wave.

Instead of bombarding someone with BUY BUY BUY! when they hardly know you, try thinking of what you’d write if you had to create an online dating profile for your business. What would you say to make someone interested in you? And at what point in the relationship would you like someone to see that side of you? Send a series of welcome messages that are carefully crafted to let this content slowly drip out and build up the relationship. Don’t say too many things at once.

And remember – when writing your messages, brevity is key. People don’t read (they skim) and you have about 3 seconds to grab and keep someone’s attention. Use your message’s real estate wisely to pique someone’s interest in you and bait them back to your site to build the relationship.

See for yourself – which email welcome message is most appealing to you? In this first example, the messaging is based around the subscriber – sort of like asking your date a lot of questions to get to know them:

In this second example, it's all about the retailer. While I typically love this brand's emails, they're coming on a little strong here:

The layout is nice and it's easy to scroll through, but it's a lot of information up front and it lacks any personalization for the subscriber. Welcome messages have some of the highest open rates, so use that to learn more about each customer instead of just talking about yourself.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section.

Research Study: Welcome Series Concepts and Strategies