Ross Kramer, CEO of Listrak, challenged the audience at the 2012 Shop.org Annual Summit’s Digital Retail Boot Camp in Denver to reinvigorate their email marketing programs. Using the nearby Rocky Mountains as something of a metaphor for how retailers can and should “ascend” the rungs of email marketing sophistication, Kramer first laid out “Base Camp” fundamentals – such as benchmarks, list growth, calendar, and deliverability. Following these basics, Kramer showed retailers how investing in developing their email sophistication – what he dubbed as the “Advanced Camp” and “Summit” levels of email marketing – will allow them to learn more about their customers, target them with greater precision and personalization, and ultimately, reap greater ROI. Read on for Kramer’s tips and industry examples for retailers to reach the pinnacle of email marketing.
“Advanced Camp” Level
- Social Proof. As Kramer explained, “[Social proof] is the idea of reusing the ‘aftermarket value’ of your likes, pins, reviews, and the like.” For example, furniture company La-Z-Boy saw a 10% increase in their click through rate (CTR) simply by adding their star ratings to their email campaigns.
- Cart Abandonment. Per the Listrak Shopping Cart Abandonment Index (comprised of 50 top retailers that the company follows) today’s abandonment rate is 74%, and the 6-month average is 76%. Kramer pointed to the example of Vintage Tub & Bath, which included a top review in their cart remarketing email, along with the product image, link and price. B2B public safety equipment and apparel retailer Gallssends a “large cart alert trigger” to the customer service representative, and also includes in the remarketing email the “recommended products” usually shown with that item on the website – a strong tool for leveraging “fixed assets” on the site.
- Post Purchase Loyalty. Recent shoppers are primed to shop again if prompted, so retailers should consider following the example of Campsaver.com, which sends a thank you email and a one-time 10% off coupon approximately two weeks after the initial purchase. In similar vein, 3Tailer sends a thank you email that includes “recommended” and “most popular” products to cross. Both are strong examples of ways to upsell the consumer in the first three months after the initial purchase.
- Gender segmentation. Kramer recounted his experience buying a designer handbag for his wife from a high end retailer that offers many brands. To his surprise and delight, emails that he subsequently received from that retailer were not for women’s products as one might have assumed: rather, they appropriately targeted him with items for himself, such as men’s clothing.
- Physical Store / Online. In the complex world of multichannel retailing, Kramer advised retailers to “use email to bridge [multiple] channels.” For example, his local pet and fish supply store sent him an email thanking him for visiting, while also encouraging him to visit them on Facebook, read their pet-specific blogs, follow them online via other social media, and/or call them by phone for help. In another (even simpler) example, apparel retailer Talbots sends a thank you email to customers, thanking them for visiting a specific physical store.
- Discount Ladder / Win-Back. “Do you know how many people who purchased in 2011 came back to your site and purchased in 2012? How many 1-time, 2-time, etc. buyers do you have?” Kramer asked. As it turns out, Listrak has found that only 15% of consumers across the retailers they studied are two-time buyers – “really sad, considering all the work we do on search” and via other marketing tools, he commented. Listrak helped its footwear retailer client, Birkenstock Central, analyze its customers, segmenting them into 11 “cohorts” based on the number of days since their last purchase, then tested four different offers (free shipping, 10%, 15% and 20% off) to see how well each offer worked to re-engage these customers. Among its findings: free shipping “had a non-effect” and “of course 20% was very impactful.” However, for customers in the 0-to-30-day since their last purchase group, the 10% off offer worked just as well as the 20% off offer. Furthermore, they found that no offer made much of an impact on customers who hadn’t engaged with the retailer in 180 days or longer, emphasizing the need for retailers to regularly revisit their email subscriber list.
In closing, Kramer advised retailers operating at email marketing peak performance should ensure that they are contacting subscribers “at least once a week”, as well as having in place specific automated trigger campaigns. Prime examples of these include a welcome series, cart abandonment remarketing, post-purchase review request, post purchase loyalty, and post-purchase win-back.