How Retail Marketers Can Shine During the Holiday Shopping Haze
Consumers are constantly confronted across media channels with branded messages. The volume of information is overwhelming, leaving many to disregard those messages or even view them with outright disdain. For email marketers in particular, message overload threatens to send their strategic marketing messages directly to spam.
So how does one rise above the noise? And what can retailers do to avoid the trash bin? As the holiday shopping season winds down, here are three tips to help savvy retailers ensure each email campaign stands out from the clutter.
The Right Message
Like a store entrance greeting or sidewalk sale sign, email messages should convey your brand identity, offer valuable information and highlight a call to action.
Consider an e-commerce retailer hosting an end-of-season sale. It may be tempting for it to blast the same flashy email to everyone on its list. The more eyes on the email, the more purchases that will come, right?
Imagine a brick-and-mortar store with a sale sign that flashed, whistled and vibrated all at once. It will certainly draw some attention, but will more likely deter many from browsing the merchandise and making a final purchase.
To avoid a similar fate, tailor messages to smaller groups of contacts. Email marketing automation makes it easy to segment audiences and continually adapt over time, so each shopper receives a message customized to their buying habits. A sporting goods retailer promoting a holiday sale can target repeat customers with a “stock up” message, while first-time visitors will appreciate a roundup of popular items.
When retail marketers consider who is at their digital storefront, they can create campaigns centered around reaching the right audience, at the right time, with the right message to drive more purchases while also increasing brand loyalty.
With Perfect Timing
The timing of your emails will impact how consumers react. Catch a commuter and you may reach an enthusiastic buyer, ready to purchase before work. On the other hand, a Friday night campaign may sit unopened just long enough to see Monday morning’s inbox purge.
At SendinBlue, we took a closer look at email campaign performance for e-commerce and offline retailers. E-commerce email opens are highest Tuesdays and Thursdays, but email clicks spike on Wednesday. For offline retail, opens stay steady most of the week but increase on Thursday and Friday.
What can we learn from the data? E-commerce engagement likely peaks midweek because shoppers want orders to arrive before the weekend. For offline shoppers, emails work best end of week when shoppers plan their weekend errands.
These data-driven insights are just the first step to more strategic campaign timing. The right tools can empower marketers to A/B test their campaigns for time of day and day of week to see how it impacts engagement rates. Armed with this data, retailers can schedule campaigns to complement other marketing channels while catering to customer preferences.
Providing Real Value
Think back to our storefront example. Do you appreciate when a salesperson points you in the right direction or suggests a new product? It’s a positive experience and one that provides you real value. The same technique applies to email. With every message, consider what you give to the customer, not just how your message will drive them to purchase.
With data available to illustrate what shoppers value, resist the urge to email multiple times per week “just in case” they take the bait. One shopper may always purchase from a discount-driven campaign. Another may read every company newsletter but make only a few major purchases per year. These behaviors should highlight the messages shoppers value, and therefore dictate what campaigns they receive moving forward. And while there’s always room to test, remember that too many emails overwhelm, so keep experiments modest and spread over time.
At the end of the day, retail marketers should prioritize the preferences of each individual customer. Do your messages provide shoppers value? Are you using data to cater to their individual preferences? Are you messaging your subscribers on the right days and times? When customers feel understood by the brands in their inbox, those messages rise above the noise, rewarding savvy brands with long-term engagement and loyalty during the holiday season and beyond.
Armand Thiberge is the CEO of SendinBlue, an email marketing and marketing automation software provider.
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