See How Personal Product Recommendations Generate 67.4x ROI for IMA

Friday, August 28, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

International Military Antiques implemented Listrak’s Personalization Engine in October of 2014. Its onsite recommendations account for 36% of IMA’s ecommerce sales while its email recommendations make up nearly 30% of all email revenue. IMA is seeing a 67.4x ROI from product recommendations alone.


Prior to implementing Listrak’s Personalization Engine for onsite product recommendations, IMA was manually selecting four recommendations for each product page on its website. This was very tedious and difficult to merchandise and manage. With Listrak, IMA can now create customized algorithms and use predictive analytics based on 360-degree customer insights to serve up personalized product recommendations relevant to each visitor.

Product Page

IMA started by adding these personal, automated recommendations to its product pages, which is the best place to start if you are new to onsite recommendations. The recommendations are based on the “viewed this, viewed that” algorithm and they have a 38% higher click-through rate than the site’s average.

Checkout Page

Based on this success, IMA added recommendations to the checkout page and the results were even better. The recommendations on this page use the “frequently bought together” algorithm and they have a click-through that is 140% higher than the site’s average. More importantly, with a 21.3% conversion rate, it is evident that customers are using these recommendations to add more merchandise to their transactions.

Together, the onsite recommendations have a 9.9% click-through rate and a 1.8% conversion rate, accounting for 36% of the total ecomm revenue.

Email Recommendations

IMA also added personal product recommendations to some of its email messages as a way to engage shoppers and assist with product discovery. Since Oct. 2014, personal product recommendations in emails have accounted for nearly 30% of the total email revenue.

Triggered Messages

Starting with its triggered messages, IMA added product recommendations to both its shopping cart abandonment messages and its post purchase emails.

Its three-part cart abandonment series averages a 35.2% open rate, a 13.6% click-through rate and a 24.5% conversion rate. This conversion rate increased 15% with the addition of the recommendations, which are based on the algorithm “frequently purchased together”. The recommendations make up 15.8% of the total revenue for the cart abandonment series.

The post purchase message, which use the “purchased this purchased that” algorithm, averages a 52.3% open rate, a 19.7% click-through rate and an 8.7% conversion rate. The recommendations make up 43.3% of the total revenue generated from the post purchase message.

Weekly Messages

IMA also wanted to boost the engagement and relevancy of its weekly email newsletter and found that including personal product recommendations based on inventory considerations really works. These recurring automated messages, which launched April of 2015, have a 7% higher conversion rate than IMA’s manual campaigns that do not include product recommendations. The recommendations generate 84.7% of the total email revenue brought in from these messages.

Personalized product recommendations in email campaigns really work. IMA averages 9.7% click-through rate and 1.3% conversion rate for emails that include the recommendations. These recommendations drive nearly 30% of IMA’s total email revenue.

About IMA

International Military Antiques (IMA) is the world leader of military collectibles and antiques. IMA has supplied the world’s foremost museums such as the National WWII Museum, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and West Point Museum, film productions such as Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers, private collectors and historical reenactors. However, the majority of IMA customers are everyday people that share IMA’s passion for history. Learn more about them at

Questions about how Listrak’s Personalization Engine can help you achieve these same results? Let us know in the comments section. 


How are the Big Mall Brands Faring from a Consumer Point of View?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

Recently the Marketing Team at Listrak took a road trip to King of Prussia Mall, the nation’s second largest mall, which features a diverse mix of more than 400 stores, including an array of upscale department stores and luxury brands. Our mission was to make observations throughout the mall and to secretly shop eight well-known retailers whose stores we had already shopped online and whose email marketing lists we had already joined to see what type of omnichannel experience they are offering consumers.

Some of the findings were surprising.

Technology and Omnichannel Customer Service

One of the advantages that physical stores have over eCommerce sites is of course face-to-face interaction with sales associates. The stores we shopped ranged from luxury fashion brands to fast fashion brands and high end beauty and skincare products to sporting goods stores, and associates in all stores were friendly and professional. What they weren’t in many cases, however, was helpful or knowledgeable about technology or the omnichannel experience.

But first things first. There frankly was not a lot of technology to be found – at least at the stores we visited. At six of the eight stores, we did not see technology in the hands of associates at all. At two of the retailers, there were kiosks that allowed for the creation of registries or sign up for loyalty programs (also email acquisition tools – see below), and at one of those stores the associates also did a commendable job of acquiring loyalty members at check out.

At two other retailers, both luxury apparel and accessories brands, there were iPads available to associates, but in only a single case did an associate actually use it. In that case, it was to offer a great omnichannel experience, finding a product that the brand offers but did not have in-store and sending an email featuring the product detail page (no other retailers were able to do this for us when requested).

At the other luxury retailer, in fact, our secret shopper who had established a wish list onsite prior to the store visit, asked an associate who had iPad in-hand to call the list up and was instead recommended to access it herself on her phone app. That same associate, when pressed to help with the app, took our secret shopper’s phone with her behind a curtained area in the back of the store, where she also subsequently took the shopper’s credit card when she made her purchase.  All the while, another iPad lay idle in the store as other associates helped customers empty-handed.  

Email Acquisition

Knowing that email is the highest ROI producing digital channel for omnichannel retailers, we were eager to see – outside of the kiosks at two stores that essentially serve as email acquisition tools - how aggressive retailers are in collecting email addresses at point of sale. The fact is, they are not at all.

At first we looked for in-store signage. In the stores we researched, only one store - a fast fashion retailer - had POS signage inviting shoppers to text an email address to receive 20% off, which worked seamlessly. In fact, when one of our secret shoppers attempted to sign up with an address already in the system, she immediately received a return text noting that she is already a subscriber. Upon texting her work email address instead, she was promptly texted the message to present to receive her discount.  

We then noted whether or not associates asked for an email address at check-out. Associates at the registers of six of eight of the stores did not ask for an email address, and in fact, when one of our secret shoppers tried to provide one at a well-known sporting goods store, he was told the retailer was unable to take it.

And finally, e-Receipts provide a great convenience for shoppers and a great email acquisition opportunity for retailers, and we wanted to know how many retailers are actually taking advantage of them. Not one of the eight retailers we studied, however, readily offered one, even if able to provide it, and our requests to be sent e-receipts were met with an interesting array of responses:

  • An associate at a high end beauty/skincare retailer told us he could, but he would just print it out instead
  • An associate at a well-known sporting goods retailer told us the brand could not provide e-receipts
  • An associate at another sports performance equipment brand told us they used to offer e-receipts but no longer do
  • A popular homegoods retailer reported a receipt could not be provided, however, it wasn’t needed anyway if the shopper has an account established (and thus, was not given)

Cross-Channel Consistency

Prior to taking our field trip, our secret shoppers had been browsing and shopping the retailers’ sites and studying their emails, and we were interested in seeing how the in-store experience matched the online brand experience. In this area, we were pleased to find, that with very few exceptions, the retailers offered a consistent experience between on-line and physical store and email. That being said, some of the e-receipts we received following our visits were text only, which is a missed opportunity for those retailers to present brand consistent communications that continue the conversation and begin setting the stage for the next purchase.

It’s worth noting that most of these same retailers we visited have beautiful, robust websites, offer helpful apps, are active in social media and make many other omnichannel efforts, which is certainly a great start. Where it seems, however, that they sadly still all fall down a bit is in synchronizing those efforts to provide the consumer with a truly omnichannel experience.

If you’ve had a noteworthy omnichannel experience, please share it!  


Targeted Email Marketing: Influence Purchase Decisions using Customer Intent

Wednesday, August 19, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

There has been a major shift in the way customers respond to targeted email messages. Just a few years ago, the general belief regarding browse and abandon emails centered on privacy issues. These first emails were unexpected and startling. Customers were reading a lot about data breaches in the news and were concerned about their personal data being used in nefarious ways.

But what a difference a year makes. Online browse messages have become some of the timeliest and most relevant emails you can send. And customers appreciate them – especially when they replace batch and blast messages. Broadcast messages are great at driving awareness, but these triggered online browse messages do much more than that.

Online browse messages:

  • Influence shoppers’ purchase decisions using customer intent
  • Use customer data in the best possible way, walking shoppers down the path to purchase items that are most relevant to their needs
  • Engage shoppers in personalized communications based on their current interests
  • Provide the opportunity for customers to discover new products by including product recommendations based on the category, sub-category or merchandise viewed

This online browse message brings in 59% as much revenue as the brand's cart abandonment campaigns.

Best of all, these messages are automated. Triggered campaigns have much higher engagement and conversion rates than broadcast campaigns, driving 184% more sales on average. And it’s no different for online browse messages. The average open rate for a browse abandon message is 31.7%, which is 130% higher than the average open rate for a broadcast message. Online browse messages also average $ .38 revenue per email and can be as high as $ .96 for best in class messages. Batch and blast messages only average $ .05 revenue per email. 

Most importantly, at 13.8x ROI, the average automated online browse campaign will add a significant amount of revenue to your bottom line. These campaigns run in the background with little maintenance. Just set them up and take the extra money to the bank.
Unlike other triggered campaigns, online browse messages let you cast a wide net. As long as you have the email address for a site visitor a targeted email message can be automatically deployed.

The Connection between Cart Abandonment and Online Browse

If you are already sending a shopping cart abandonment series, you need to add an online browse program to your marketing mix. Online browse messages are the important first step for many shoppers in their customer journey as they show that you are listening to customers and reacting in a personal and timely manner. You are treating them as individuals, not as just one of the millions of people on your list. The messages are the building blocks of an engaging, loyal and long-term relationship.

We analyzed the online browse campaigns 35 of our retail clients are sending and found this one universal truth: the more messages you send, the more money you make. Just like shopping cart abandonment campaigns, you shouldn’t stick to just one attempt. But the similarities don’t end there.

Timing – The automation of these messages allows you to set the right timing. After years of research and testing, we found that cart recovery messages that are sent three hours after the abandonment have the highest probability of generating a conversion. Additional messages should be sent every 2-3 days. Online browse messages, on the other hand, should be sent a bit sooner. Message one should go out within two hours of the site abandonment as there is a bigger chance that the customer is still online and is still contemplating the purchase. Similarly, each successive message should be sent closer to the online visit in order to recapture the interest and attention of the shopper. But, as always, you should test to find out what works best for your customers.

Suppression – Just like cart abandonment messages, you should suppress the shoppers in your online browse campaign from receiving your promotional, batch and blast messages. These triggered messages are more relevant and personal and will drive more revenue.

Promotional Message Benchmarks:

Online Browse Benchmarks:

Cart Abandonment Benchmarks:

There is no denying that cart abandonment messages have some of the highest campaign metrics. You can expect your online browse messages to bring in about 40% as much revenue as your cart recovery campaigns. However, in some instances, we’ve seen the best in class online browse messages outperform the cart abandonment campaigns by as much as 143%.

Personal Product Recommendations – Including personal product recommendations based on the same category or sub-category or items related to the merchandise viewed will greatly increase the conversion rates of your online browse messages. We found that online browse campaigns that do not contain personal product recommendations have an average ROI of 13.4x while those with recommendations have an ROI of 17.3x, a 29% increase.

This online browse message's ROI is 48x

Nurturing Series – The age-old adage is true. If you send more, you’ll make more. We have always recommended sending at least three cart abandonment messages – and even more if you are still getting a double-digit conversion rate. The same is true for your browse abandon messages. giggle has a six message series, sending one message per day that features the browsed item along with recommended products plus user generated content in the form of customer pictures posted to giggle’s Instagram page. With Olapic, these images are shoppable, giving customers many opportunities to engage and purchase.

Are you ready to give online browse messages a try? Let us know. We’d love to talk to you about how it can transform your digital marketing campaigns and drive more revenue.


Seven Triggers to Enhance your Email Automation

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

A simple email can do so much. It can raise brand awareness, drive sales, engage new customers and re-engage past customers or even identify unknown shoppers to build an accurate customer database. What’s more, email typically has the lowest marketing spend at just 3.3% of a retailer’s annual digital marketing budget but brings in 25% of the total online revenue.

Email is certainly the workhorse of your digital campaigns but did you know it could – and should – be doing even more? Batch and blast messages still make up 96.2% of all email volume while automated triggered campaigns are a meager 3.8% of volume. But automated campaigns drive a significant amount of revenue with one-third of email revenue being attributable to these triggered messages.

Automated email messaging offers many benefits, including:
  • Open rates that are four times higher than broadcast messages, on average
  • Click-through rates that are 152% higher than broadcast messages, on average
  • Revenue per email that can be 46 times higher than that of broadcast messages
  • Efficiency in message creation, saving time and resources
  • The ability to personalize every message to every subscriber, making emails more contextually-relevant
  • Additional opportunities to engage shoppers
  • Boost in deliverability and inbox placement

Following, we outline seven different triggered messages that will greatly enhance your email marketing strategy, bringing in more revenue while reducing design time, resources and stress. We noted both the benchmark statistics retailers are seeing with these campaigns plus the stats that the best in class campaigns are generating.

1. Welcome Messages

Automated welcome messages are powerful, automated, revenue-driving, customer-engaging machines. Triggered upon signup and deployed immediately, these messages reach customers at the exact moment when they are most interested and engaged and typically have such high open rates that we recommend sending two, three or even more welcome messages in the form of a series while suppressing shoppers from promotional sends. Seize the opportunity to learn more about your shoppers and drive them to a preference center while promoting your new merchandise, top selling products or even personal recommendations based on the shopper’s browse behavior. With the average revenue per email just under one dollar, automated welcome messages generate 18 times more revenue per email than the average broadcast message and may account for up to 20% of your total triggered campaign revenue.

Best in Class
Open rate
Unique click rate
Revenue per email

2. Online Browse

Sending automated, personal messages to shoppers who browse your site but don’t add items to their carts or checkout greatly expands your audience. Browse and abandon campaigns have come a long way from their origin as creepy, big-brothery messages. With the addition of personal product recommendations based on the category, sub-category or product the shopper viewed, these messages are now contextually-relevant, timely and useful. And, when done correctly, they generate eight times more revenue per email than broadcast messages.

Best in Class
Open rate
Unique click rate
Revenue per email

3. Cart Abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment messages have also come a long way since their premier. Retail marketers send a variety of cart recovery messages to customers who started but didn’t complete a transaction. These automated campaigns range from a single triggered message to a complex series of four of five messages that include additional personal product recommendations, varied timing and offers and social proof in the form of customer ratings and reviews. These messages are vital to your success as they can recapture 30% or more of your lost sales with very little effort or cost. Shopping cart abandonment campaigns can generate 46 times more revenue per email than broadcast messages, making them one of the highest performing campaigns in your email arsenal.

Best in Class
Open rate
Unique click rate
Revenue per email

4. Loyalty

Post purchase emails come in many varieties. From transactional messages, such as order and shipping confirmation, to loyalty, re-engagement and winback campaigns, post purchase messages are designed to keep shoppers engaged and buying from you. Post purchase loyalty messages generate eight times more revenue per email than broadcast messages and, by including personal product recommendations, you can easily turn a first time buyer into a loyal customer and brand advocate.

Best in Class
Open rate
Unique click rate
Revenue per email

5. Replenishment

If you sell consumable products, like health and beauty supplies, office products, or even running shoes, an automated replenishment campaign will keep your customers buying these products from you over and over again. With conversion rates averaging over 30%, these campaigns generate 22 times more revenue per email than broadcast messages, these messages have some of the highest performance metrics because they are timely, personal and relevant.

Best in Class
Open rate
Unique click rate
Revenue per email

6. Back in Stock Alerts

Back in stock messages take personalization to a whole new level as shoppers sign up to receive these specific notifications. Simply telling customers you will notify them when items are restocked prevents many of the shoppers from buying the merchandise elsewhere – plus it has the added bonus of additional sales as shoppers sometimes purchase something else the day they sign up. And you have the ability to promote additional items to them while you’re waiting for the product to become available. These campaigns generate 32 times more revenue per email than broadcast messages, making them the highest performing automated message.

Best in Class
Open rate
Unique click rate
Revenue per email

7. Recurring Automated Campaigns

The newest automated messages to make our list of seven triggered campaigns every retailer needs to send is our Recurring Automated Campaigns. These messages are similar to broadcast messages as they are scheduled to go out to a large segment of your list at a specific time each day, week or month. But these campaigns are 100% automated, pulling in personal product recommendations based on each recipient’s past purchase or browse history or inventory considerations, such as new markdowns or top sellers. The early metrics from these campaigns show that they perform as well as broadcast messages, but the secret of these messages is the automation. Once set up, they require zero design time and maintenance – they just run in the background adding incremental revenue to your bottom line. Some ideas to think about as you set up these campaigns:

  • Monday Markdowns 
  • Tuesday Trends 
  • What’s New Wednesday 
  • Thursday Top Sellers 
  • Friday Faves 
  • Saturday Steals 
  • Social Sunday

Simply adding one or two of these automated messages to your deployment calendar will greatly increase your email revenue. Note - because these campaigns are so new, Best in Class performance metrics are still being determined.

Open rate
Unique click rate
Revenue per email

What are your favorite or best performing triggered messages? Let us know in the comments!


Pop Culture Makes Great Email Content

Wednesday, August 05, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

I love those weird quasi-holidays that stumble their way into everyday life. Little pops of festivity can add some much-needed cheer to an otherwise uneventful work week. (I don’t think I need to remind you all of the infamous “Hump Day” Geico commercial.)

Why not capitalize on these in your email campaigns?

Though not quite a holiday, earlier in July, pop culture was buzzing about Shark Week. According to, Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is, “television’s longest running must-see summer TV event.” According to its Wikipedia page, Shark Week premiered in July of 1988 and has been terrorizing the minds of beachgoers ever since.

With such a huge following, it’s no wonder a few retailers are donning their life vests and hopping on board. Here’s a few of my personal favorites:

First things first, I give major props to both SwimOutlet to DesignbyHumans for having so many shark-themed products that could be included in the body of their messages. While SwimOutlet takes a more comedic approach, both effectively promote the theme., probably due to a (justifiable) lack of shark shoes, keeps their thematic side confined to their animated creative that quickly loops through a silhouette swimming in shark-infested waters.

And the creativity doesn’t stop with the design. I should add that the subject lines for this week were on-point with some great puns and “graphics”.

Long story short: Want to brighten your recipients’ morning? Try capitalizing on some quirky upcoming events to bring out some smiles.


Jingle Bells, Inbox Swells: Sending by Vertical over Holidays

Monday, August 03, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

When you intern at a company like Listrak, you expect to see a lot of emails. But when I found out I had read over 19,000 for just one project…well, I still wasn’t prepared for that.

To escape the confines of my inbox for a little while, I thought I’d look for the light at the end of the tunnel: When does email sending slow down?

With this throwback to the holiday months of 2014, I came to three conclusions.

1. Pets Chase Mailmen, Emails Chase Pets.

After picking the verticals I wanted to review, I was surprised to see that pet supply companies sent the most email per company—over 100 on average-- for the four-month period examined. Following not-so-close behind, we see the verticals of Office Supplies, Education, and Apparel/Accessory retailers.

2. When December Comes, I'm Hiding from my Inbox

Roughly 61% of verticals reviewed had their sending peak in December. With more emails in the inbox and consumer spending at a seasonal high, you can expect competition to skyrocket. Will your email be the one recipients remember?

(Hint: If you’re not feeling so confident that you will crush the competition this holiday, check out Listrak’s Holiday Resource Center. We’ll get you up to snuff.)

3. Skip the New Year's Party and Inventory your Office Supplies

For a new angle, I stacked months side-by-side. While seeing Toy/Hobbies/Sporting Goods spike in December wasn’t too unexpected, I was shocked to see that the Office Supplies vertical saw the highest spike—and in January, of all times.

We you surprised by any of these industry sending habits? Drop us a comment below— we’d love to hear from you.