SMS and Email: The Hidden Value of Multichannel Subscribers

The numbers speak for themselves: two-thirds of consumers shop in more than one channel – and those that do have a 30% higher lifetime value. It makes sense that multichannel shoppers are going to be your most valuable, but did you know they are also your most active and engaged?

We studied over 1.4 million subscribers that clicked-through at least one email during the fourth quarter of 2017 to see if multichannel subscribers – those who are subscribed to both an SMS and email list – are more engaged than email only subscribers. And the results prove that they are.

We started by comparing the number of subscribers who only clicked once to those who clicked two or more times and found that the number of multichannel subscribers who only clicked once in Q4 was 8.9% lower than email only subscribers. However, multichannel subscribers had 6.1% more multiple clicks in the same time period.

Breaking it down further, you can see that as the number of clicks grow, so does the engagement rate of multichannel subscribers. In fact, SMS and email subscribers who clicked-through emails 11 or more times in Q4 was 25% higher than email only subscribers.

An even closer look shows just how consistent increased engagement is for multichannel subscribers:
This added engagement boosts site traffic and conversions. We've seen SMS increase site traffic 3-4%, which leads to a 1.5% increase in overall site conversions on average. And the SMS visitors have a 6.4% lower bounce rate when compared to visitors who clicked-through an email, again proving that SMS subscribers are the most engaged. While email still reigns as one of the top conversion channels, SMS subscribers had the same conversion rate as the organic site traffic.

These rates are expected to rise as more and more consumers choose to engage with brands.

Who Will Adopt Artificial Intelligence in 2018?

Don't overthink it. Surrendering to intelligent automation.

If I had to predict what the 2018 landscape will look like, I would put my money on two groups succeeding this year: small shops willing to allow extreme testing to drive constant change in their marketing programs AND companies of any size that leverage intelligent AI-driven automation and personalization.

As an agile product manager who takes an iterative results-based approach to building products, I see great opportunity for the teams that take a similar approach to their marketing. At this point, anyone with a mobile device can set up a Google Product Feed, advertise on Facebook or create Shoppable Instagram posts. Small nimble teams can compete with much larger entities by gathering rapid feedback through near-constant testing and split-testing. After all, a small team that tries something new with each and every campaign (email, display, social or otherwise) gains access to rapid feedback simply not available to slower-moving mid-to-large companies that often take a rather templated approach to their marketing.

I also see great promise for companies that embrace intelligent AI driven automation and personalization. When I launched a new product this year that combined machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing and marketing automation I saw companies fall into 2 distinct groups: those ready for AI-driven automation and those that simply want faster ways to do what they've always done.

When I launched a new product this year that combined machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing and marketing automation I saw clients fall into 2 distinct groups: those ready for AI-driven automation and those that simply want faster ways to do what they've always done.

In the first camp, the clients ready to let machine learning and AI takeover personalization so they are free to focus on other areas of their marketing efforts, I watched them send a few successful test campaigns, then turn the product on full throttle and never look back. For them, the product runs on autopilot and proves its ongoing effectiveness in campaign metrics.

However, in the second camp, users who simply want to do their current work faster, there is a level of hesitation in moving away from a human-curated campaign experience. I believe given the chance, the hyper-personalization possible only through intelligent automation will speak for itself in the form of higher engagement rates. In the meantime, I'll let the crawl-walk-run approach we baked into the product allow companies in this second camp to adopt AI-driven automation at their own pace.

Is intelligent AI-driven automation and personalization perfect? No. Is it better? Key performance indicators and campaign metrics on engagement seem to indicate it is.

I can only imagine that companies of all sizes will be faced with decisions about how and when to leverage AI, machine learning, and a data-driven approach to their efforts in the coming year. I believe those willing to adopt AI and execute quickly based on their results will move the furthest and fastest in 2018.

Wendy Huffman, Listrak Product Manager

Wendy Huffman
Product Manager

Holiday Shoppers Favored Mobile during Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday

We’re rounding the home stretch and heading toward the holiday shopping finish line. The results from Thanksgiving and Cyber Weeks are in for 2017 and eCommerce retailers and marketers should be thrilled. Online sales in the U.S. reached a record-breaking $6.59 billion on Cyber Monday alone, according to Adobe Analytics; this, along with a 16.9% increase in dollars spent online on Black Friday compared to 2016. There has been a shift toward online shopping for some time and now consumers are increasingly favoring mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) for their shopping needs, this year more than ever.

It’s no surprise because we’ve seen steady growth in both mobile site traffic and online revenue during the holiday shopping season the past several years. But, this year truly reached new heights as online sales from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday set the record at close to $20 billion, up 15% year-over-year YOY from 2016, according to Adobe Digital Insights (ADI). Mobile sales represented 33.1% of that revenue, up 22.2% YOY.

Why are we turning to our phones and tablets for our shopping needs? To me, the answer is simple – it’s easier. Mobile shopping is efficient and convenient. Shoppers already know what products they want and where to find the best deals for them, and can do so quickly without firing up their desktops.

"Consumers are now savvier and more apt to do their own product research. Comparison shopping is more convenient than ever before with smartphones. Mobile internet finally has a solid foothold in the digital landscape. Companies are realizing that it’s no longer an afterthought— it's a primary driver and delivering on a seamless user experience across channels and devices is crucial.” said Zach Trimble, Listrak Product Manager.

From a personal perspective, I rely on my favorite retailers to offer mobile optimized sites-- sometimes apps-- and more than ever, SMS coupon offers and discounts. It’s convenient for me and truly only as far away as my pocket. Companies such as Target, Macy's, Kohl's and Nordstrom have all been seen making investments in their mobile apps.

Convenience was key for me this year as I became a mother in September. With my brand-new baby in tow, I headed out for a shopping trip to Kohl’s for their pre-Thanksgiving Day sale to use a $10 coupon which was only redeemable in stores. I didn’t bring my stroller (I guess I skipped that day in New Mom 101) and had to lug baby around a crowded store and subsequently wait in long lines. After that, I decided to finish the rest of my shopping online-- from my iPhone that is.

It seems a lot of shoppers made the same decision I did this year. Kohl’s reported that its website had a “record-breaking” Thanksgiving, with roughly 16 million online visits that day, while JCPenney said online traffic had increased by “double digits” the week of Thanksgiving, with consumers using mobile devices to shop for gifts.

On Cyber Monday alone, mobile-driven revenue tipped the scales at $2 billion. So, what phones are shoppers favoring? The average order value for an Apple iOS user was $123, with Google Android users coming in at an average order value of $110.

Overall, more than half of Thanksgiving weekend’s online purchases were placed on mobile devices, according to data from Adobe Analytics, which measures online transactions by the 100 largest U.S. online retailers. Visits to physical stores dropped off as many retailers offered the same deals online as they did in-store.

I’m happy that retailers are realizing that in an age where we are all busy and looking for any little way to save time and energy, offering the same incentive online and in-store will please those of us mobile shoppers.

As the last big push for holiday shopping commences this week, it’s not too late to offer SMS incentives for your last-minute shoppers who may be turning to their mobile device to purchase those last few gift items on their lists.

If you’re new to SMS marketing, take a look at Listrak’s SMS State of the Industry infographic to gain a clear understanding of the current state of SMS. Listrak clients, take advantage of Listrak’s SMS offering by contacting your account manager today.

Lauren Eisenhauer
Marketing Manager