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The Retail Pro's Guide to Winning at Email

Posted by Kirsten Onsgard

September 04, 2018

retail-email-marketing-tipsEmail is a retailer’s best friend.

According to MarketingSherpa, marketers ranked email among the most successful channels. In fact, email is second only to organic search.

No wonder. Email returns a huge ROI. For every $1 spent on email, it returns $44 on average, according to the DMA.

Retailers love email because it’s a simple, direct and personal way to reach customers. Today, even old-school retailers have a huge opportunity to make a great impression on their customers thanks to new-school tools, such as robust data and marketing automation. Exceptional email strategies are timely, relevant and helpful to customers. They keep customers clicking for more.

Here are four ways retail pros can win at email.

Automate Emails

Brands send triggered emails when a customer takes an action. This could include signing up for a newsletter, abandoning a shopping cart or making a purchase. Because a customer is already interacting with a brand, triggered emails are relevant and helpful.

For marketers, they’re huge. Triggered emails perform better in almost every metric than other emails. Yes Lifecycle Marketing found that the average open rate for triggered emails was 27% in 2018, double that of regular emails.

Today, triggered emails are a must. Thanks to powerful ESPs, an email program based around triggered emails is simple to set up, helping mom-and-pop SMBs compete with big box retailers.

What should you be sending? Here are a few ideas:

  • Welcome emails
  • Abandoned cart emails
  • Order confirmations
  • Signup confirmations
  • Receipts

Personalize Content

Customers expect brands to understand and cater to their needs. Creating personalized, helpful content is critical. Brands that deliver on personalization will wow customers and stand out, big time.

Personalization goes beyond the [First Name] tag. Instead, personalized emails include relevant offers, such as related products, reminders and suggestions. Even a salesy email, such as an abandoned cart email, can be personal and helpful.

Customers won’t engage with irrelevant content. Take a step in their shoes, empathize, anticipate and be useful.

This requires strong data and powerful insights. What are your customers telling you through their behavior? How can you leverage third-party data to create context?

Personalization can be intimidating for some retail marketers. But remember: personalization exists on a spectrum: at one extreme, batch and blast offers, and at the other, one-to-one marketing. Take small steps, and you’ll see a big impact.

Design Intelligently

Emails shouldn’t only be beautiful. Instead, design with purpose and the modern customer in mind.

Consider this: Users open most emails on mobile devices, and your on-the-go customers aren’t spending a lot of time reading your email. Mobile-friendly, catchy and accessible design is key.

Here are a few elements to optimize your email design:

  • Eye-catching hero images
  • Punchy, short copy
  • Prominent CTAs focused on a single action
  • White space

Clean Your Database

When a customer signs up on a retail website, they expect to receive relevant offers. But what if they misspell their email address and it bounces?

8.4% of emails entered into webforms — such as newsletter signups and registrations – are invalid. For retailers, that loss is huge.

Retailers must ensure they are sending to valid emails on their existing marketing list. Sending to poor or toxic emails is a one-way ticket to crashing a sender reputation or hitting spam traps.

In both cases, the customer isn’t reached. You can’t win at email if you aren’t making it to the inbox. It’s that simple.

The solution? Email Validation.

Practicing regular data hygiene is key. Retailers that use Email Validation see a higher ROI from their email program. By avoiding toxic data and reducing bounces, Email Validation helps marketers make it to the inbox.


Retailers love email — and for good reason.

But great email marketing hinges on strong data: a clean email database and complete customer records. Using Email Validation and data enhancement is key.

Developing a robust retail email marketing program will not only pay huge dividends, but will also foster loyalty and brand evangelists.

Access the Customer Data You Need Today

Topics: Email Marketing, Personalization, Email Validation, Email Intelligence

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