Congratulations to Sandra Cordero, CRM manager for women’s apparel retailer Torrid, the 2020 winner of the Email Experience Council’s 2020 Stefan Pollard Award. Sandra is a good friend to Liveclicker, and her work and leadership are well-deserving of this honor.

Image from EEC

The Pollard Award is the most prestigious award in the email industry. What makes it unique among industry awards is that the email marketers who win it not only have to develop innovative campaigns but must also show that their strategies and tactics drive real results for their companies. 

That’s what Sandra was able to do with Torrid since she joined the women’s apparel retailer in 2016. Working closely with her team and Liveclicker, Sandra has proved again and again how innovation in email can drive revenue and performance for her company.

Her initiatives have contributed to a 44% increase in redemption rate and a 44% increase in revenue from digitizing Torrid’s omnichannel bounceback program. The email program itself has seen a 119% increase in total program revenue over that time, representing consistent double-digit growth year over year. 

“Working with Sandra and her team has been a reward in itself. She has an eye toward innovation and improvement that leaves no stone unturned. She’s so deserving of this award, and Torrid has the email performance to prove it,” Brooke Schommer, Account Development Manager who has worked closely with Sandra, says.

Sandra isn’t the only Liveclicker client whose work was recognized this year by the EEC. Faith Bukauskus of Hot Topic was an award finalist as well.

“Faith exhibits a fantastic can-do spirit that brings success to every project she touches, and has driven so much success for Hot Topic with her email programs,” Brooke says.

As a strong supporter of email for more than three years, Faith has driven double-digit returns in annual growth for the last two years. She reinvigorated Hot Topic’s email initiatives program and re-engineered the Black Friday plan, which included sending more activity-based personalized messages earlier in the season to warm up clients.

Torrid and Hot Topic in action

If you follow our blog or read our case studies and white papers, you’ve seen the innovative ways both Torrid and Hot Topic have used advanced personalization and moment of open technology to make their emails more engaging, useful and compelling for their customers. 

One of Sandra’s big successes was a total makeover of Torrid’s loyalty program that included developing a monthly rewards statement with personalized content based on behavior and rewards for members at each tier of the program. Customers love the email – it generates over-the-top opens and clicks – and have come to rely on it to track their status in the loyalty program.

Hot Topic was able to use dynamic content to solve a perennial problem – email recipients who click through on a tempting offer, only to find the product sold out or the promotion had expired. The brand now uses dynamic images and moment of open technology to substitute new images or offers if the original ones are no longer available.

What would Stefan say?

Stefan’s friends and co-workers remember him as a tireless supporter of email innovations that produce better experiences for customers and stronger results for brands, as well as email education to improve the entire practice of email marketing. 

We think he would be proud of Sandra and Faith and how they have adopted new uses of technology to create better experiences for their customers and their brands.

More than ever today, at-home entertainment providers are helping people connect with work, family and friends for information, education and distraction. Customers are responding by heading online in record numbers.  

Preliminary figures show internet usage has risen 50% to 70%. Video streaming and game downloads are posting massive increases as people seek diversions at home. Brands in these verticals are faced with challenges of scaling up quickly across the organization, especially in areas of communications, marketing, and customer support.

‘Always-on’ conditions require nimble messaging

Even during normal times, companies increasingly see the value in being able to pivot quickly to keep their messaging up to date and accurate. In these times, that “should” has become a must because it will help customers manage new and ever-changing day-to-day realities.

Companies who will success in this pressure-cooker environment will be those who can meet these challenges:

These new demands on messaging can strain the resources of marketing teams that are already stretched to their limits. Technology that allows the team to edit and adapt messaging content on the fly will boost productivity as well as increase message value for recipients.

5 ways to stay competitive in a fast-changing market

1. Gain the gift of the “takeback.” This allows you to edit or switch out content even after you press “send.” This is important for digital content providers like streaming services because so much can change from day to day or even from the start of the end of the business day now.

An entertainment channel or movie, TV show or virtual game that looked like a sure hit in January when you created your promotional plan could be outdated or inappropriate now. Or, your company has to respond in real time to an aggressive promotion from a major competitor.

No matter the reason, you don’t have to worry about canceling email promotions in your send queue. Using real-time technology, you can change out the editable content with the new message as needed.

2. Scale up for increased demand. Each of your customers has unique interests in program and content choices. Your email messages should reflect that so you can send messages read like 1-to-1 communications. 

Use dynamic content blocks and adaptive images to create nearly endless versions of a single message template. You can mix in your regular promotions with content that appeals to customers whose tastes you know and include how-to info and content suggestions for new customers without having to create side-by-side messaging strategies.

3.  Add a real-time news or schedule feed. Adding this real-time, automatically updating content in your emails shows customers what’s playing on your channels at the moment they open your emails. Plus, it gives them a heads-up on what’s playing next. Then, adding a “Play” button can help desktop viewers jump right into the content they want. 

4. Embed video right into your emails: Make your content even more compelling by adding trailers, teasers, highlights, even short pieces right into your emails. Besides showing customers what they’re missing,  you can also help parents and other video watchdogs check out content in advance to be sure it’s appropriate to watch. 

In the past, video in email could be frustrating because many browsers or email clients didn’t support it. However, today’s technology can serve up the right version automatically to give your viewers the best experience.  

5. Expand your reach with “tap to text.” Email is fast, but sometimes SMS is the right choice when you need to send last-minute program updates, reminders and late-breaking offers. “tap to text” makes the process effortless with an in-email call to action that automatically populates a text when viewed on mobile or provides easy instructions to customers checking their email on desktops or other devices.

Real-time content positions your brand for what’s ahead

Industry trend-watchers are suggesting that the changes happening rapidly in online and in-home entertainment will alter how consumers access video, gaming, music and live content long after conditions return to normal. 

Retool your email communications to meet your customers’ short-term needs now, and then revisit them later to keep your brand a welcome guest in their homes for the long term.

The recent finding that advanced email personalization can generate an extra $20 back for every $1 invested in it has captured plenty of attention in the email industry. What’s even more remarkable is that this revenue comes on top of email’s already amazing ROI of $44

“Many marketers who invest in advanced personalization tactics can realize an annual return on investment in excess of twenty dollars for every dollar invested,” The Relevancy Group concluded in its report, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers, commissioned by Liveclicker.

We know what you’re thinking: “Where did that $20 ROI come from, and how can I get in on it?”  

The Relevancy Group asked marketers about their revenue from different levels of personalization – basic to advanced – and how much they budgeted for personalization. Using those figures, analysts calculated the average ROI that came from advanced personalization alone.

Now, how can you make it happen in your own email program?

First, the good news: Marketers who use advanced personalization effectively can surpass even that additional $20 ROI.

Now, the bad news: You won’t get there just by adding the recipient’s first name to your email or to personalize the subject line. People expect to see first-name personalization. So, by itself, just adding the name won’t move your customers to act.

The next level of personalization, which includes dynamic content based on past purchases, can generate more revenue than just using first-name personalization. But it isn’t enough to earn you that additional $20 ROI, either.

Finding the right personalization tactic pays the big dividends

“To see dramatic ROIs, it’s imperative that marketers adopt the more advanced tactics,” says Liveclicker’s new report, Driving Value with Advanced Personalization, which builds on the data and analysis in The Relevancy Group’s report to show marketers specifically how it can be done.

Advanced personalization – using real-time data and a set of rules based on signals from inventory levels, message open times and clickstream behavior to create “superior individualized experiences,” TRG’s report says. 

These tactics can take many different forms:

The secret to success isn’t just picking one tactic and seeing how it works. Instead, you need to see which tactics best fit your email strategy, along with your customers’ needs and expectations.

Liveclicker’s new report analyzes how one retailer used advanced personalization to increase revenue and engagement. 

Chico’s needed to promote its higher-end Black Label collection but needed to find out how to present this merchandise to customers to encourage more purchases.The company tested two options: one based on a customer’s previous purchases and one that used live inventory data that presented the newest items in the collection.Results: The collection-based test beat the purchase-based test by double digits. Want to know the details? Download Driving Value with Advanced Personalization to get the specifics. 

Download The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers to learn more

Both case studies show how investing in advanced personalization can generate an extra $20 ROI on email marketing and help you increase revenue by generating more sales and higher order values. They increase the relevance and value of your email messages and help your emails meet the growing competition for attention in the inbox. 

The Relevancy Group report, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers, lays out a roadmap for retailers who want to dive deeper into the state of play for personalization among today’s retailers, the actual monetary values generated by advanced personalization tactics and how they compare to basic and purchase-based personalization.

Download your copy now so you can begin seeing the possibilities!

We know that advanced personalization techniques can earn upwards of $20 – or more – for every $1 invested in it. But coming up with that initial investment can be a challenge for many marketers.

You’ll increase your chances of getting a “Yes” from your boss or executives if you present a request that shows the clear benefits of advanced personalization. A new report from Liveclicker, Driving Value with Advanced Personalization, can help you do the legwork that’s required to build a successful case.

The new report highlights Chico’s, a high-end women’s clothing retailer with 600 boutiques around the U.S., who used live inventory updates to promote its new collections. The result: higher revenue generated from larger average order values.

The full report provides in-depth analysis and details such as the actual percentages of revenue growth and the kinds of advanced tactics each retailer used to generate its gains. Download it here.

How to make your case

Driving Value with Advanced Personalization builds on the groundbreaking findings from The Relevancy Group’s study, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers, produced for Liveclicker, which first quantified the potential $20 ROI from using advanced personalization.

Note: That’s on top of the ROI you earn now from email, estimated at an average $44 on every $1 invested in email. 

Although 22% of marketers surveyed for the report said lack of budget was their biggest challenge, the report found marketers spend an average $900,000 or more annually on personalization and recommendation technology.

That’s an appropriate budget amount for advanced personalization, The Relevancy Group reported. If it sounds daunting, consider that the report also found 69% of marketers said they spend $850,000 or less annually.

The report suggests three ways marketers can shave some dollars off the cost of adding advanced personalized technology such as recommendation engines: 

Finally, many of today’s cloud-based platforms that use real-time data to drive advanced personalization tactics integrate easily with databases and CRM systems and require less IT support and intervention, the report says. That’s another source of cost-saving and a point that can help you build a successful case for investment. 

We always knew personalization, especially advanced personalization tactics, helps email marketers make more money. Now we have the numbers that show it.

A new report from The Relevancy Group, sponsored by Liveclicker, finds that marketers who move up from basic personalization to advanced tactics such as real-time data, stream-based click data and dynamic offers based on send could see upwards of an additional $20 for every $1 spent.

That’s on top of the ROI marketers already earn on their email efforts, which range from $32 to $44 for every $1 of investment.

“Retailers who use Advanced Personalization Tactics drive upwards of 17% more revenue than marketers who rely on more basic methods,” researchers David Daniels and Nicholas Einstein conclude in the report, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers.

“These numbers are why we work so hard to bring our customers personalization at scale, in real-time in email,” says Kenna Hilburn, VP of Account Development and Partnerships at Liveclicker. “Using data to personalize emails in real time can make a big difference to marketing results, and also to business results and processes. The benefits start with revenue and go far beyond.”

Personalization has become table stakes for marketers for many reasons, the report says. “Consumers of all ages and genders agree that a lack of relevance [or a repetitive send button] makes them less receptive to engage.”  The result: They opt out or go inactive.  

4 top findings

We’ll share a quick look at results below. Download your own copy to find out how marketers use and budget for personalization, how advanced personalization can increase revenue, and what’s keeping them from stepping up their personalization efforts.

  1. Where did that email personalization $20 ROI come from

The Relevancy Group first found that revenue data reported to the researchers showed an $18.70 average return. From that, they figured marketers who use advanced personalization more effectively can earn $20 back on every $1 invested in personalization, and even more than that when they optimize for best performance.  

  1. Basic personalization is the most common.

More than 8 in 10 retail and ecommerce marketers use some personalization in email marketing, from first-name personalization (86% use it) to subject-line personalization (72%) and email body content (66%). 

What do marketers aspire to boost their personalization efforts? Real-time data and personalized retargeting and website personalization lead the pack. 

  1. Monthly revenue from click behavior, inventory level and real-time data beats either basic or purchase-based tactics.

Advanced personalization generates almost 14% more monthly revenue than personalization based on purchases and 17% more monthly revenue than basic personalization.  

Although all three advanced tactics produce more revenue, one of them generates the most. Download the report to find out which tactic leads them all!

  1. Lack of IT support and worries about platform security and budget hold back retailers from moving to advanced personalization.

It’s easy to talk about using advanced personalization, but marketers fear it can be a challenge. The Relevancy Group reassured marketers about two of their concerns, saying that today’s personalization platform don’t need significant IT support and have appropriate security and encryption. 

The report is more concerned about the 22% of marketers who say their personalized recommendations rely on merchandiser assortments rather than the complete inventory, which can limit relevant recommendations.

Download the report to find out more

There’s much more in the full report, including a detailed look at how retail marketing executives are tackling the Amazon challenge and a case study of a retailer who uses advanced personalization to overcome challenges with up-to-date content and sold-out inventory.

Download your copy of The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers and see how Advanced Personalization Tactics could help you make more money with your email program!

The winter holidays bring tremendous opportunities, along with a set of challenges that are greater this year than ever. The traditional Thanksgiving-Christmas Day shopping season is six days shorter.  Customer expectations keep rising. Competition is heating up, as is the pressure  to hit ROI and sales goals.

How can you capitalize on the opportunities and stay ahead of the challenges? An email marketing strategy tune-up that uses four engagement-building tactics.

Make your emails more action-worthy

You don’t have to overhaul your email program to create standout email messages. Instead, build on what you already have with an email engagement strategy.

Use your data in creative new ways to make your messages more relevant and valuable to your customers. That gets your emails noticed, opened and acted on!

1. Target and engage inactive customers in your loyalty program.

These aren’t your garden-variety inactive customers. They cared enough about your brand to join your loyalty program, but they haven’t purchased lately or opened or clicked on your emails. They need more than a garden-variety “We missed you” email message.

The typical inactive-engagement strategy usually segments out non-responders, sends an incentive to lure them back, and lops off anybody who doesn’t act. Your VIPs deserve better because you have more data on them, like behavior, preferences, purchases and demographics.

Use that data to spotlight loyalty members who haven’t purchased or redeemed rewards during a logical time cycle based on your customers’ typical buying habits. Personalize the email with points earned, points needed to move up to a higher membership level or rewards waiting to be redeemed.

Sears sends this notification to shoppers in its Freecash Rewards program. It covers all the bases needed to prompt lapsing customers to return and shop again – how much customers have to spend, the different reward tiers and how to use the reward.


Like what you see? Find more real-life examples of innovative revenue-driving tactics in our holiday email lookbook!

2. Add package-tracking data to promotional emails.

Customers value shipping notifications because they want to know where their packages are and when to expect delivery. But most brands send only one notification email, and that message usually diverts customers to a third-party shipping site to find the information.

Real-time tracking information in a promotional email keeps customers up to date and in your email (and gives them a reason to come back to it time and again!). Add a special marketing message that moves them back to your site. The more personalized the offer, the better!

This Evine shipping notice includes the company’s web navigation in the message, which can spur the customer to click on a tab that catches their attention.

email engagement during the holidays

3. Use email to help customers succeed.

How will you hit your sales goal for the year? Not just by pounding your customers with the same offers everyone else is sending. (And what are they sending? Lots of 20% and 50% discounts during the holidays, according to email database MailCharts.)

Put the customers at the center of your emails instead, and give them information that will help them shop successfully.

“Customer Experience Email Marketing helps you navigate the delicate balancing act between customer and company goals,” email expert Kath Pay says in Customer Experience Email Marketing: Getting Ahead of the Consumer, a research paper produced with Liveclicker.

“You achieve your goals by helping your customers to achieve theirs. The result is a mutually beneficial relationship with the potential to endure into loyalty.”

What do your customers want to know?

Put all that information into a special holiday planning guide, and send it just before your first major email campaign launches. Then, repeat it one topic at a time – return/exchange policies in one message, shipping deadlines in another – in your promotional emails.

This email from Online Shoes appeals to last-minute shoppers with shipping deadlines and shop-by-category links that let shoppers zero in on what they want. The countdown timer prompts customers to act, and the 25% discount sweetens the deal.

4. Nail down the basics – and don’t forget to say “Thanks for a great year!”

If you’re like most retail marketers, your email program is about to head into the most stressful time of the year. These four steps will help you shore up your foundations:

Some brands send their holiday greetings without an offer or any other path to purchase. Others include subtle ways to convert.

The email below, from American Eagle, combines several tactics: a prominent holiday greeting, links to popular spots on the website and an invitation to join the loyalty program below the greeting.

You also could include a link to your preference center, invite subscribers to create or update a profile and emphasize the benefit as AE does with its loyalty program invite:

Want more ideas to build engagement that drives sales during the holidays? Download our newest guide: 9 Solutions (With Real-Life Examples!) to Retailers’ Biggest Holiday Email Headaches (there’s a UK version too!).

As a retail email marketer, you are probably planning your year-end holiday marketing campaigns right now. 

Anyone outside our industry may be surprised to hear this, especially since Black Friday and Cyber Monday—generally regarded as the first of the major winter holidays—are still four months away. Yet there are real advantages to developing your holiday marketing strategies as early as possible.

For example, a report from NRF shows that 40% of consumers plan on starting their holiday shopping before November 1, a number that includes a substantial 12% who reported that they will begin before September 1. When you think about it this way, holiday shopping could start in less than eight weeks!

holiday retail email statistics

 Source: NRF’s Annual October Holiday Consumer Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics 

It also looks like 2019 will be a banner year in terms of total consumer spending. The same NRF study found that in 2018, the average American shopper spent $846 on gifts, which represented a 14% increase over 2017. With the stock market, labor market, and consumer confidence numbers at, or near, all-time highs, holiday spending is likely to increase again this year.

On one hand, such positive news represents significant opportunities for retail marketers today, especially those who are contemplating their holiday campaigns now. Yet on the other, it may actually lead to more questions than answers. For example, many marketers may wonder:

The power of personalization

The good news is that there is a way to accomplish all of these goals: real-time email personalization. The value of personalization is well documented, to the point where research shows that marketers who use advanced personalization tactics have greater email revenue than those that don’t. 

Despite these results, a surprisingly high number of campaigns are still being deployed without meaningful personalization. For example, a 2018 research report found that nearly 40% of marketers said that they almost never personalized their emails in the previous year.

Even when brands do use some type of personalization, it is often limited to the same basic customization many marketers have been using for years: a first name in the greeting, a recent purchase in the body, or adding the recipient’s company name without much thought. 

These tactics can be effective—and at least are a step in the right direction—but today’s consumers have come to expect much more. To catch their attention and gain a sustainable advantage over your competition, consider using email personalization in innovative new ways throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

3 Use Cases for Any Holiday Audience

For example, consider the following real-time personalization use cases to improve the way you engage with three very different segments of holiday shoppers: Early Birds, Seasonal Shoppers, and Procrastinators. 

Help the Early Birds find the perfect worm

As described earlier, nearly a quarter of consumers will start shopping for holiday gifts before October 1. While they’re motivated to get it done, time is still on your side. 

An astonishing 42% of companies don’t survey their customers or collect feedback. Consider using in-email polls or other interactive ways to collect valuable information about what is important to Early Birds and then use real-time personalization to create highly relevant email experiences.

In this case, you could create a poll where you ask them what special products are most appealing this holiday season. Here’s a great example from Taubman Centers asking subscribers what they love most about the new season:

holiday email for retailers ideas

Or you could ask other questions related to what they prefer most when purchasing holiday gifts, such as discounts, increased loyalty points, flash sales, special promotions, or free shipping. You can use polls to ask many different questions, so be as creative as possible.

These polls are delivered in the email itself, which leads to a fun, engaging experience your audience may not expect. Recipients click to answer the question and can see how their answers stack up to other responses in real time. You can even use this as an opportunity to offer initial discounts or holiday promotions!

But the real value is the specific information you’ll receive about each individual consumer. You can then send customized emails that give them exactly what they’re looking for. They’ll love it!l

Deliver ideal experiences for Seasonal Shoppers

Consumers who prefer to shop in October and November are looking for ways to get the best deals possible while making sure they don’t run into inventory issues. 

It’s a real concern, since popular items tend to move fast during the holidays. If you’re not careful, you can send emails that feature products that are out of stock, priced higher than expected, or are temporarily unavailable. 

This inevitably leads to a frustrating experience for customers who were ready to pull the trigger on a specific item or sale. Heavily promoted or discounted products can have out-of-stock rates of 10% or more, and out-of-stock experiences are consistently named among the most frustrating for consumers. An initial out-of-stock encounter results in a 30% chance of that customer turning to a competitor and not returning, a rate that increases to 50% and then 70% with subsequent experiences. 

Real-time personalization can make the difference between success and failure. You can avoid promoting sold-out products by keep your customers’ favorite product categories up to date with the most appealing selections that are currently available on your website. Then you can create personalized emails that display their preferred items by scraping images and content directly from those web pages—in the moment of open.

Hot Topic used this tactic to reveal hot new products as they came available, and then swap or gray out items that became sold out:

best retail holiday marketing tips

In the case that a product is out of stock or removed from the category page, your email reverts to a graceful fallback option that serves up the next best option. Customers will never know, and they’ll even appreciate the additional options for the perfect purchase.

Give Procrastinators a way to save the day

When the clock is ticking, Procrastinators need as much help as possible. Yet with real-time personalization, desperate times don’t have to lead to desperate measures.

For example, you can send emails that use recipients’ geotargeting data to create maps that show your closest store location to save them time and effort. White House Black Market used this feature to drive subscribers in-store for New Year’s Eve dress shopping:

retail holiday marketing emails

You can also add a countdown timer as a fun way to communicate important information, such as the last possible time to take advantage of extended holiday hours or a free shipping deadline. Once the deadline has passed, swap out the countdown timer with a link to buy an online giftcard instead.  You can even add a deadline to their calendar to remind them to shop, but also to encourage them to shop with you.

Happy Holiday Planning!

It may sound a bit funny, but we’d like to wish you a happy holidays, and more specifically, a happy and productive holiday planning season. This year, consider innovative new personalization strategies to connect with consumers—no matter when they might be shopping.

Woo Hoo! We’re thrilled to celebrate five of our clients whose email campaigns were chosen as winners in this year’s Marketer Quarterly Awards! The winning campaigns stood out from the crowd by using dynamic, personalized content in engaging and innovative ways to ensure their customers had the best possible experiences.

The Marketer Quarterly Awards recognize brands, their technology partners and agencies for being ‘the best of the best in email marketing’ in several different categories. Nominees are judged by analysts from The Relevancy Group on a variety of attributes including relevance, utilization of data, creative, strategy, and results, among other category-specific characteristics.

We’re honored to work with these clients, and excited to share their award-winning campaigns with you here today.

Best Loyalty Member Email/Offer – Ulta Beauty

ESP: Salesforce

Goals:

Ulta Beauty wanted to engage top loyalty members in an appealing email experience that promoted customer affinity and drove retention and growth.

Challenges:

Ulta’s ‘Year in Review’ emails were previously complex and labor intensive to build, and as one of the retailer’s more complicated campaigns, the coding for the ‘Year in Review’ email was highly detailed – so accuracy and thorough testing prior to deployment was crucial.

Solution:

The company partnered with Liveclicker to create a rich and engaging customer email experience using RealTime Email. With access to real-time customer data, the retailer was better able to capitalize on the opportunity that year-end emails present, all while streamlining the internal production process.

Results:

Ulta created an elegantly designed email that displayed five different points of personalization, highlighting key customer data points from the year, such as how much they’d saved and how many points they’d earned. Recipients spent nearly 3X the amount of time—close to 20 seconds—in the “Year in Review” emails as compared to the average Ulta email, and customers continued to open and engage with the email for days after it was deployed.  

Best Retargeting – Busch Gardens

ESP: Silverpop

Goals of the campaign:

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay needed a better way to promote its annual Food & Wine Festival, which spans many weeks and features 18 different world-class concerts. More specifically, they were looking for an effective way to communicate a lot of complex information in an interactive and engaging way while incorporating specific interests of each guest into the campaign and ultimately, driving attendance and sales.

Challenges:

Traditional email marketing approaches made it difficult to convey so much information or give guests interactive options to learn more about a particular concert or purchase tickets in one email. They needed a way to deliver this much content in a way that is a good experience for the recipient, and to be able to offer the functionality for each of the 18 concerts and throughout the entire event campaign.

Solution:

Using Liveclicker’s add-to-calendar, Busch Gardens enabled recipients to add concerts to their personal calendars, and then was able to retarget guests who did with personalized reminders and CTAs to buy their seats and get their Festival Samplers.

Results:

CTRs beat Busch Gardens’ average by 150% and the campaign became the new template for other parks to replicate for similar events.

Best Use of Real-Time Data: Travel/Hospitality – Royal Caribbean

ESP: Salesforce

Goals of the campaign:

Royal Caribbean relies heavily on promotional messaging, and email remains one of the most effective ways to target prospective customers. The overall goal of this effort was to improve the customer experience with up-to-date pricing in email, increase engagement, and deploy accurate “BOGO 50” emails in a more timely fashion.

Challenges:

Inventory and pricing changes frequently in the travel industry, so ensuring that pricing in promotional emails matched pricing displayed on the website, while getting the emails out on time, was a challenge for Royal Caribbean – and even then, discrepancies could still occur.

Solution:

With Liveclicker’s real-time data, Royal Caribbean was able to populate pricing in their emails to make sure that they matched the prices displayed on the website whenever a recipient opened them.

Results:

Comparing unique click-through rates for this campaign with previous BOGO 50 campaigns, the results showed that subscribers engaged much more frequently on the itinerary with dynamic pricing changes. The campaign delivered a 12% increase in CTR versus the historical average. Also current and accurate pricing is available in email anytime a recipient opens the message, improving the customer experience.

 

Best Welcome Email/Email Series: Retail – Torrid

ESP: Salesforce

Goals of the campaign: To increase traffic both to the website and stores during its Black Friday/Cyber Monday campaigns, driving incremental revenue and achieving other aggressive goals for the holiday season.

Challenges:

Torrid needed to display up-to-date content to recipients at the precise moment they opened their emails.

Solution:

They designed the emails with a live image that also displayed a timer to count down to the end of each live promotion. Using open-time data, the hero image would disappear when the promotion expired, but was replaced by a message telling customers to visit the Torrid site to view “today’s amazing deals instead.”

Results: Torrid found these new emails led to new levels of customer engagement and urgency, both of which increased sales:

Best Use of Video – Alfred Dunhill Ltd

ESP: Cheetah Digital UK

Goals of the campaign: Dunhill wanted to improve the way it promoted its presence at the upcoming Fashion Week in Paris. Specifically, the luxury goods brand wanted to generate higher levels of interest and anticipation for the prestigious Men’s Fashion Show, and to give its audience a real-time look at the live event—and its latest fashions—using live-streaming video.

Challenges:

The Dunhill marketing team had many great ideas for creating a high-end, engaging experience, but didn’t have the necessary in-house developers or technical resources capable of adding advanced functionality to their emails.

Solution:

They partnered with Liveclicker to implement an elegant live video stream in email – an experience that would meet their goal, was perfectly aligned with their brand image, and impressed recipients with its capabilities. In the first email, Dunhill featured a trailer to build excitement. The next email featured a timer counting down to the pending live stream, later replaced by the live video. The last email contained the video recording, product images and CTA for more highlights.

Results:

Huge congrats to all the recipients for achieving excellence in email marketing, and may your innovation continue to shine throughout the years.

We always want to help our clients improve their marketing results, whether it’s rethinking existing marketing challenges or using real-time email personalization strategies to accomplish new goals.

This is the idea behind our RealTime Email Innovators program, a series of topical case studies that offer a detailed look at how many leading companies are achieving success using Liveclicker solutions. Each case study provides real-world examples in our attempt to give you specific tips, tricks, and best practices to transform your marketing efforts.

We’re happy to unveil two new RealTime Email Innovators: Alfred Dunhill Limited and Hot Topic. Both of these leading retailers faced difficult challenges related to traditional marketing approaches. Fortunately, both brands were able to use real-time personalization to devise innovative new email marketing strategies to overcome past obstacles and improve the way they engaged their customers and prospects.

Dunhill Limited Creates a More Engaging Customer Experience

For example, Dunhill initially approached Liveclicker to improve the way it promoted its presence at the annual Fashion Week in Paris. Specifically, the retailer wanted to generate as much anticipation and excitement as possible for the showcase event of Fashion Week: the prestigious Men’s Fashion Show.

Dunhill’s marketing team used Liveclicker’s real-time email personalization platform and services to create a three-touch email campaign. The first email offered a full-motion video trailer to announce the brand’s presence at the Paris Fashion Week. The second email featured a countdown timer, which was set to 15 minutes before the show started and then revealed a live video stream of the fashion show. The final email contained a recording of the fashion show as well as various product images to encourage the audience to click for more highlights.

A Time-Based Strategy Overcomes Past Challenges for Hot Topic

Additionally, Hot Topic partnered with Liveclicker to create a time-based targeting strategy and highly dynamic product-centric emails that updated in real time to deliver a better customer experience.

Such an approach was needed as an improvement over past email marketing efforts. Hot Topic used to send marketing emails as soon as a product was available on its site, yet these products would often sell out before all subscribers even received the email. The entire experience was frustrating for those customers who couldn’t act fast enough to get the product they saw in email.

With Liveclicker technology, Hot Topic created an email using RealTime Email’s LiveImage capability that highlighted the fact that the product was now available in stores. Then, when the product also became available online, the image automatically swapped to offer a new link to promote online shopping. Hot Topic was even able to use a grayed out image to show when a product was out of stock.

Interested in learning more about these examples, and how you can use real-time email personalization to achieve powerful new business results? We invite you to download our RealTime Email Innovators case studies for more information.

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In our fourth and final Marketers on a Mission article, we examine what it takes to compete with the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in retail—Amazon.

Clearly, Amazon’s dominance has forced retail marketing teams to take drastic new measures to compete. They really don’t have a choice. According to research in our Marketers on a Mission report, 45 percent of consumers report that they regularly shop with Amazon instead of with other online brands, department stores, malls, and boutiques.

As a result, retailers are rethinking past approaches and adopting new strategies, such as providing fast, free shipping, reducing prices, and focusing on the overall customer experience. In fact, a resounding 95 percent of retail marketers said that Amazon has significantly impacted their marketing plans.

Yet all is not lost. There is still at least one major advantage that retailers believe they hold over Amazon: the in-store experience. From the same report, nearly 40 percent of respondents said that “the in-store experience” was the single key advantage they have over the retail giant. This was the clear winner by far, with “brand loyalty” coming in second.

Create the ideal experience, in-store and out

The in-store experience may be easy to overlook, but it is an important factor to consider. Many consumers still either prefer to shop in-store or will visit a store to pick up an online purchase or make a return. Stores are still appealing since they can help consumers avoid shipping fees, save time finding the right item, or getting credit for a return.

What does this mean for email marketers? To start, it means that marketing teams need to make sure they are tracking store data and syncing it with any/all digital channels to create the very best customer experience possible. They can also use email to increase connection and engagement with customers or prospects, which can include in-store experiences.

One way to to create more engaging experiences is by activating customer data. To do this, marketing teams should start with the information they have available, and use it to create extremely personalized communications. This can be done by using intelligence gathered from shopping cart activity, website searches, email opens and responses, and other behavior, and applying real-time decisions to target content by location, time zone, or device, for example.

Activated data belongs to the company, not Amazon, so it provides unique customer insight that can’t be accessed by Amazon or any other competitor.

For instance, innovative email marketing teams can use real-time email personalization tools that include maps that point customers to the closest store location. These emails can offer a discount, a special promotion, or in-store event to get consumers into a store—and delight them with a new, unexpected experience that will increase loyalty. Email can be used in other ways besides direct sales. For example, marketers can poll their audience to collect meaningful data for future activation and connect consumers across channels.

So if you’re wondering what the right strategy is to compete with Amazon, focus on creating the best interactions possible, including in-store experiences.

In case you missed our first three articles, you can still read Marketers are on a Mission to Make the Right Investment or Maximize Results with Behavior-Based Emails now.

Or, if you want to get all of this information, all in one place, download the full Marketers on a Mission report now.