December 18, 2019

The Missing Piece in Retailer Email Marketing Strategies

One of the true superpowers of the internet is the ability to get highly-accurate behavioral data on your customers as they browse the web.

Many online businesses have built a thriving market in user behavior data that can be effectively leveraged to improve accuracy and efficacy of marketing efforts. Many online storefronts adopt these policies wholeheartedly, with the customization they enable serving as a core element of their business model. However, many retailers have been slow to move into this space, and as a result, their marketing messages are falling flat. Below we’ll explain the problem in a bit more detail, and go through some of the benefits that a marketing campaign based on user behavior can bring.

What are Traditional Retailers Missing?

The problem with most traditional retailers is that they rely on marketing practices established well before the advent of the information age. Large periodical runs, television advertising, radio, and similar channels are, by their very nature, broad-net marketing in that they have to appeal to a large cross-section of potential customer types. The problem is that these broadcast-only advertisement mechanisms are then simply cut-and-pasted onto their web storefronts, as though their online storefront is only a begrudging extension of their in-person presence. With no efforts focused on collating the data they’ve already collected on your spending habits, they’re likely to adopt general category-driven marketing content, such as receiving notification of a shirt sale immediately after you bought a new black shirt for a night out. Relevant? Technically. Useful? Not really.

The Benefits of Personalized Email Marketing Strategies in Retail

Sure, you may need other shirts eventually, but it’s far more likely that you’re looking for any of a set of related, accompanying items that would complete your look like cufflinks, ties, or jackets – things you might also sell alongside the very article the customer purchased. By analyzing common purchase patterns among the data you record on your sales, you can identify behavioral patterns in users. People who buy a specific black shirt may always buy cufflinks next, for example, or a red dress may have a best-selling companion shoes that could be used in your marketing to improve the average price per transaction. If the appropriate data is being collected and stored, this can be added with relatively minimal effort to existing technology.

Leverage Existing Technology

The most shocking thing about this situation is that the technology to achieve this predictive marketing has been available for over a decade! Most retailers have been storing detailed records of the purchases made by their consumers, time-stamped by store location, since their systems were first digitized in the 1980s-1990s. By doing some simple analysis of this data, you can personalize your organization’s marketing efforts and vastly improve both customer retention and sales.

Transactional Emails and Personalization

One extremely quick win for most retailers is to tie their inventory management and point-of-sale software together with their email system. With this data, marketing teams can easily add new dynamic ad blocks to established transactional messages (i.e., post-purchase order or shipping confirmation emails, etc.) that, due to the nature of the communication, are far more likely to be positively received than marketing-only emails. These messages offer a prime place for introducing personalization, as each communication will generally be centered around a specific service or product purchase already made by the customer. 

By leveraging this fact, retailers can create customized advertising that will speak more directly to the consumer, allowing them to more effectively utilize their established communication channels in concert with their exhaustive customer data. And in return, retailers can drive higher revenue through monetization of emails that are typically non-monetized.

Catching Up With Personalized Marketing

Traditional retailers are either thriving or failing depending on the motivation of the pundit writing the current opinion piece you’re reading, but many retailers share in common a failed understanding of how marketing in the internet age has fundamentally changed customer outreach. 

While traditional retailers focus on a broadcast, population-oriented marketing strategy, they have the data they need to vastly improve the success of their marketing efforts. With some simple data analysis applied to information they’re already storing and by incorporating strategic monetization into transactional emails, traditional retailers can take advantage of huge, unrealized opportunities in marketing to their customer base. Retailers looking at dwindling Black Friday and Cyber Monday numbers would be wise to cast their eyes inward before casting blame outward.

Are you a retailer looking to catch up on some of these opportunities? Jeeng would love to find out what your needs are – especially since President’s Day and Valentine’s Day, to name a few, are right around the corner! You can learn more on our website, or contact us with any questions you have.