Drive Higher Engagement with Advanced Segmentation Tactics

Friday, April 24, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

Segmenting your list is a great way to target a specific group of customers with a specific message to drive better engagement and ultimately revenue. There is a lot data that marketers can use to segment customers and deliver a targeted message: demographic, geographic, transactional, behavioral, social, loyalty and much, much more.  But, sadly, many retailers today aren’t using any data to segment their lists. Instead of delivering relevant, dynamically-targeted content, many retailers are still batching-and-blasting, sending out a single message to their entire list, despite having customers with very diverse data and attributes.
Retail marketers – don’t be intimated by your data! Segmenting is easier – and better – than ever before. The key is to decide what your business goals are and then segment based on those goals. Want to increase engagement? Segment your audience into active vs. inactive subscribers. Need to capture more first time buyers? Segment the list by customers vs. non-buyers.
After you have the basics down, you can get even more granular. Try segmenting your list by new subscribers who haven’t purchased yet or customers who haven’t purchased in over six months. Or customers who have high lifetime values. There are many creative ways to segment lists and with automated personalized content, you’re guaranteed to get the right message in front of the right audience with very little effort.
Listrak’s Advanced Retail Segmentation solution lets you segment your customers and subscribers in exciting and new ways. And you can layer and combine segments to get very specific and targeted groups.
BrainMD Health, an online retailer for brain-directed nutrition, segments its list into groups including customer, non-buyers, email openers, people who have opened or clicked but haven’t purchased, people that haven’t purchased in over 3, 6 or 9 months, number of orders and AOV, to name a few:

The segments can be combined to get even more targeted. For example, the BrainMD Health's Marketing team is able to target recipients with lifetime average order values over $100 but who haven’t purchased in the last 90 days to deliver a high-value early-churn mitigation campaign. However, if they wanted to reach the customers that are still engaging with the brand, they can filter the list to only include those customers who opened an email in the past three weeks (April 1-22):

These targeted campaigns work. Here are just a few examples. The stats shown are compared to the average open, click and conversion rates of its promotional messages*

Sent to customers who purchased in a particular category:
23.75% Open rate – 58.3% increase*
2.46% Click Rate – 140% increase*
10.36% Conversion Rate – 107.2% increase*

Sent to customers who purchased three or more times:
25.16% Open rate – 67.3% increase*
2.95% Click Rate – 195% increase*
11.75% Conversion Rate – 135% increase*

Sent to subscribers who clicked but didn’t purchase:
21.5% Open rate – 43.3% increase*
2.1% Click Rate – 110% increase*
10% Conversion Rate – 100% increase*

Sent to recipients who have opened emails but haven’t purchased:
30.17% Open rate – 101.13% increase*
2.08% Click Rate – 108% increase*
7% Conversion Rate – 40% increase*

Segmenting your customers to this level gives you the ability to create highly targeted and relevant email campaigns that engage customers and drive additional sales. To learn more, visit


How to Use Digital Tools to Increase Sales Both in Stores and Online

Friday, April 17, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

Recently Tawyna Amdor shared some valuable tips with Internet Retailer:                                                   
One key is to train store associates to get customers’ email addresses. A great way to start is by offering shoppers e-receipts.
There’s no doubt that physical store locations are one of the largest investments retailers incur. With the cost of rent or mortgage, insurance, technology, fixtures and inventory – not to mention staffing and marketing – it’s easy to see why.
With so much at stake, it’s not surprising that retailers were disappointed this past holiday season with the 8% decrease in in-store sales and 8.3% decrease in foot traffic. That being said, in-store sales still brought in over $500 billion compared to e-commerce’s $101.9 billion.
And it’s not just the holiday season that is a challenge. In August 2014, ShopperTrak, a Chicago based data firm that records store visits for retailers at more than 40,000 U.S. stores, reported that shopper visits had fallen 5% or more from a year earlier in every month, with the exception of one, for the past two years.
Even with the growth trend clearly favoring online sales, stores are still not only viable, they’re necessary. The good news is that it is possible for retailers to use digital channels to drive in-store traffic and sales year-round and to mimic the online experience in the store to attract even more customers.

Channels are Blurring

There was a time when e-commerce sites struggled to compete with stores. They couldn’t match the personal experience that brick-and-mortar stores had to offer, and shipping merchandise was slow and expensive. But those issues were soon resolved, as shoppers grew accustomed to waiting a few days for online purchases to arrive or to paying for expedited shipping, if necessary.
For retailers, sentiment continued to sweeten towards online shopping as the amount of customer data e-commerce sites were able to use to enhance the customer journey became unparalleled. Retailers simply were (and continue to be) able to know more about each online customer than most store associates could about in-store shoppers, and in turn, could provide accurate and personalized product recommendations. Plus, the convenience of being able to read customer reviews and order anything, anytime, anywhere was tough to beat. For a while, in fact, online shopping had the clear advantage, and stores worried as sites lured their shoppers away.
But these days channels are blurring, and distinctions between brick and mortar, e-commerce and mobile attributions are disappearing. To meet customer expectations, retailers must present all brand and product information in all available formats and channels to provide customers with options and to empower them to choose how they want to interact with the retailer. Retailers who do not do this risk limiting themselves to a smaller subset of shoppers and losing revenue.

Email and Mobile

Email and mobile marketing do not need to be reserved for driving online sales. They can also be powerful tools for driving in-store and mobile sales, not to mention effective tactics for converting single channel shoppers into multichannel customers, making them significantly more valuable to retailers.
The key is to properly educate and train store associates to consistently ask customers if they would like to sign up for email or mobile offers, and making sure associates are well-versed in the types of communications subscribers will receive. Today’s customers are savvy, and while open to providing information in return for an enhanced, personalized experience with brands or retailers they favor, they are concerned with how it will be used.
A great place to start in growing your email subscriber base with in-store customers is by offering e-receipts via email or text. E-receipts provide a convenience that customers appreciate, and are a great first step to blurring the lines between channels.
But e-receipts are only the beginning.  In-store sales can be treated similarly to online purchases by triggering post-purchase campaigns, including thank-you emails, product review requests, loyalty emails or even win-back campaigns. Online stores are always just an email click away from e-commerce subscribers, but email can also be used to keep your brand in front of brick-and-mortar customers and to give them a reason to make another visit.
To drive in-store traffic, send out email messages offering in-store-only deals. Include bar code coupons shoppers can print out or present on their phones at point of sale, or offer customers the option of buying merchandise online and picking it up in-store.
Again, ideally to optimize these tactics, retailers must make sure store associates are trained and prepared. Associates should not only be familiar with the emails and offers that customers are receiving, but also aware of how to properly pull merchandise that is purchased online and have it ready and waiting for customers to pick up, along with helpful suggestions for complementary products.
Many retailers also now offer shopping apps, making it easier for customers to shop from mobile devices. Some are even setting up iBeacons to send targeted offers and messages to  app users when they are in-store, or even more specifically, within a certain aisle or near a particular product. This level of real-time targeting benefits both the customer and retailer.
The future of stores
Stores are also finding ways to compete with the virtually limitless inventory that e-commerce sites display by offering customers the ability to order merchandise in-store for shipment directly to their homes. Associates armed with tablets can show customers product options that are not available in a particular store and can also pull up product reviews to help customers make purchase decisions.
To further enhance the in-store experience, imagine if associates could allow customers to access their online wish lists and shopping carts – perhaps from a designated lounge area replete with refreshments. Associates could pull merchandise while customers wait, and then offer additional product recommendations while merchandise is being considered or tried on.
Some forward-thinking retailers are already leveraging customer data in-store to offer a truly omnichannel, and customer-centric experience. Rebecca Minkoff, for example, recently debuted its first interactive store. Customers can begin their visit by ordering a drink via a touchscreen mirror and can select merchandise they would like to try on, which associates then deliver to their fitting rooms. Different sizes can conveniently be requested from a touchscreen on the mirror in the fitting room. In addition, customers can use the interactive mirror to scroll through related merchandise that pairs well with what they’re trying on and can request more items to be delivered to the fitting room as needed. All the while, the retailer is capturing a wealth of valuable data that can be used to further enhance the omnichannel shopping experience.


Inboxes Are Where the Opens Happen

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

So much of our time and energy spent creating emails is focused on the content and design, or delivering personalized messages through automation. It’s easy to forget that a lot of our subscribers we’re creating content for are not seeing our amazing work.
It all starts in the inbox, which we may be ignoring. Every email client is a little different, but generally you’ll have:
  • From Name
  • Subject Line
  • Preheader
From name for your marketing emails should be your company name, not “Jake from State Farm”, unless you have had personal contact with that person. That’s where personalization comes in. Keep it simple.
Subject line is the original-flavor best practice split test. Marketers know that subject lines drive open rates. Take advantage of split testing subject lines. Try different approaches to phrasing the subject line, such as informative vs asking a question, hard sell vs soft sell, and direct vs open ended. You may need to create a sense of urgency, or spark some curiosity.

Show me what you’re working with!
Every inbox is going to differ in the number of characters you have to work with. A good baseline to start with is iPhone, which will show about 35-40 characters of your subject line. Mobile open rates are on the rise, surpassing desktop and web, so curating your subject lines for your mobile audience is a good place to start.
Here’s what I’m really trying to get at:
Preheader is a bit of a wildcard that seems to be misunderstood and misused, but can be every bit as useful as subject line. In fact, by default, iPhone shows between 70 and 80 characters for a preheader, and can be increased to add more lines in phone settings. With more room to work with, why aren’t more marketers taking advantage of this?
You know what really grinds my gears…
A preheader that reads “Can’t see images? Click here to view in browser” does not offer any helpful information about what might be found in the email. How often do you see that line in your inbox? Far too often! It’s a wasted opportunity to nudge the subscriber into opening your message.


The life span of a subject line and preheader are measurable by one statistic, open rate. Subscribers only spend about 3-4 seconds reading the description of your email in an inbox. We need to grab their attention and interest immediately. The preheader should support the subject line and summarize what content can be found in the message. Here are a few good examples.


In the case of the Jack Spade email, the preheader is just the hero copy. Well written, but very literally what you can expect to find in the email.


Repeating is repetitive.
Preheader should always support the subject line, and essentially summarize the content of the message. Avoid repeating the subject line. It won’t help a reader to feed them the same line twice.
Where does the preheader come from?
The first line of copy in an email will be pulled by the email client for use in the inbox. This is why the “view in browser” link is so often found in the inbox, because it is placed at the top of the message.


It’s not necessary that the preheader is visible in the message itself, as its purpose is to attract a subscriber to click to open. After all, you won’t find the subject line at the top of every message. It can be hidden on both the desktop or mobile view, and will still be pulled by the inbox.


2 things to watch out for:
Always remember to include a plain text version of your email. In a few inboxes, when opened on mobile devices, the first line of copy from the plain text will be used as the preheader in the inbox.
Depending on the layout of your message, sometimes the logo or other content will be displayed before the preheader, especially if it’s aligned to the right of your layout. You can create this effect by coding a table structure with an aligned right table first in your code that contains the preheader, followed by an aligned left table that contains the logo or other content. This ensures the preheader is still the first line of copy in the code.
Test, test, test!
Subject and preheader testing are very simple to do with a simple A/B split. They can easily be measured by open rate. Test the impact of a message with and without preheader, or the phrasing you decided to use to engage the reader.


Product Recommendations that Drive Results

Wednesday, April 15, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments


If you’re looking to significantly increase your online or email revenue, personalized product recommendations are the way to go.
There are a number of factors that go into the types of recommendations you can use. Are you helping customers discover new merchandise or complement a purchase? Or do you have specific inventory considerations you need to consider? The chart above outlines the different types of recommendations you can use to reach your goals.
But there are other factors to consider, such as items that are low in stock, merchandise with a price point that is much higher or lower than what the customers are viewing, even what products have previously been recommended to the shopper.
IBM found that adding personalized product recommendations online will give you a 23% revenue lift.
Listrak’s Product Recommender lets you set business rules for these specific scenario:


If using browse history, you can even recommend up to the last 25 items that the shopper viewed on your site: 


These recommendations can be used online and in email campaigns. 


What Are You Waiting For? Hurry Up and Get That Second Purchase

Wednesday, April 08, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

We recently reviewed data from hundreds of retail clients to find out just how soon after making an initial online purchase shoppers make that crucial second purchase. I shared the findings - which may surprise you - with Multichannel Merchant:  
Although the main reason the Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582 was to change the date of Easter, it also forever changed the way we measured days, weeks, months and years. Overall, an obviously wonderful and useful thing, but I’d like to suggest that we sometimes rely on it too much.
Take for instance the wait periods a majority of merchants automatically use to schedule their post purchase emails.
Most online retailers are painfully aware of the fact that, on average, only 15% of first-time purchasers will return to purchase again, so getting the second sale is crucial. What they may or may not know is that by converting a one-time buyer into a two-time buyer, they also double the propensity of that buyer to purchase a third-time.
Post purchase email campaigns are a proven way to help secure the important second sale; however I think merchants would be wise to challenge the assumptions about when to send the first post purchase loyalty or thank you email. While confirmation and shipping emails are important and certainly can even have respectable conversion rates, the importance of that first thank you/loyalty email to keep the first- time buyer engaged with your brand should not be underestimated.
Typically, after a subscriber buys for the first time, retailers wait a while to reach out, and they tend to wait a tidy seven or maybe even 14 days. At Listrak, we recently took a look at roughly 20 million transactions across 1,000 retail merchants and made some very interesting discoveries.
Ten percent of first time buyers purchase a second time within a day. As you can see, that number plummets to less than two percent within two days and, despite some occasional blips, continues to drop steadily every day after.

Taking a look at the second purchases by hour within the first day of purchase may help to explain:

As we see here, more than 18% of those who make a second purchase within a day make it within an hour of making the first purchase. It’s pretty safe to assume that many of these are the forehead smackers who completed their first purchase just in time to realize they had forgotten something they also intended to buy. In any case, these findings suggest a few important things I encourage retailers to ponder:
  1. Second-time buyers who purchase very quickly after the first purchase are essentially still first-time buyers. It is important to work to secure their next purchase as though it is their second.
  2. The propensity to make a second purchase (or third, for those quick repeat purchasers) decreases dramatically starting day two, so it is important to get the second order as quickly as possible after the first.So why are so many merchants waiting a full week to send the first loyalty email?
And while we might infer that the blips we see around weeks one two may be attributed to the effectiveness of seven and 14-day loyalty emails (that would entail another study to confirm, since our data is based on all transactions, not just those from email subscribers) why not try to get that important second order sooner?
  1. Those retailers who strike while the iron is hot, so to speak, and reach out to first-time buyers very quickly after the sale, most likely do not need to sacrifice margin by offering a discount. Armed with the data from the purchase, the first loyalty email provides the perfect time to serve up personalized recommendations based on the same brand, different category, for example, or items frequently bought together with the first purchased product.
Just because we’ve done something the same way for a long time, does not mean that we should continue to do it the same way. Take a close look at when your customers are purchasing over time and you may very well discover that there is nothing magical happening on days seven, 14 or even on the 30, 60, 90 or 365 day wait periods often reserved for win back campaigns for that matter.


In my Inbox: Omnichannel in Action

Friday, April 03, 2015 Listrak 0 Comments

In our latest whitepaper on email benchmarks and trends, we shared some examples of retailers using email messages to drive in-store traffic. I have received a few more recently that I thought were worth sharing:

Calvin Klein

Subject line: Enjoy These Holiday Deals

What I love about this message is its simplicity and personalization in the subject line. What I find a little disappointing is that the color palette and design don’t match the holiday, making this seem like a template that may be used for other holidays,as well. The red definitely does not inspire me to think about spring clothing. Then again, 50% is a pretty good sale…


Subject line: Nudge, nudge … have you checked your mail?

This email arrived in my inbox several days after I received a postcard in my mailbox announcing this promotion. I like the tone of the subject line, the integrated marketing and the “wish you were here” message that works for both in-store and online.
Similarly, I recently received a beautifully designed magazine-style catalog from BCBG Max Azria that included an oversize inserted postcard announcing an online and in-store promotion. I will be eager to see if I receive an email, as well.


Subject line: Bonus Coupon!

CVS does a great job of extending me loyalty rewards via my mailbox, inbox and in-store via the Coupon Center. I like the personalization in the subject line of this email and the reminder that savings await me at the Coupon Center in-store. What I find a little surprising is that of the many products I’ve purchased at CVS, I have never purchased paper towels. This makes me wonder if this was a broadcast email (but with personalized subject line) sent to the entire list of loyalty card holders or if there simply wasn’t anything being promoted at this time that matched my purchase history.
How are you seeing retailers reach shoppers in interesting ways? Please share them with us.