According to a 2019 Econsultancy survey, email is the most effective marketing channel, and it’s also an important link to other customer experiences on site, in store and on mobile apps. Getting email just right means making the entire customer shopping experience that much more relevant and effective. Hot Topic certainly does this, which is why the retailer won a MediaPost EIS Awards for Email Marketing Excellence in the Interactive Emails category.

Hot Topic used to have an animation in an email that looked like a scratch-off ticket, but wasn’t interactive. While the imagery was creative, it didn’t drive clicks to the site, and created a disappointing experience. The team knew that an interactive email experience could get people to go to the site at higher rates by increasing engagement

Working with Liveclicker, Hot Topic created a fully interactive email design that would click to reveal a personalized, integrated offer based on data inputs from past purchase behavior. The emails showcased seasonally themed animation teasing either a 30%, 40%, or 50% discount that the customer would reveal by clicking.

Hot Topic -- Interactive Offer

The retailer then added both “copy to clipboard” and “shop now” calls-to-action to drive customers to the site easily. Similarly, if a customer can’t finish shopping in that session, a “remembering” feature ensures that the next time they open that email, the offer is already revealed and the code is waiting. 

While Hot Topic and Liveclicker had done scratch-offs and coupons separately, the combination was new and innovative for the Hot Topic team. Liveclicker helped to streamline the back end experience so that both the engaging “scratch” interaction and the underlying coupon assignment could be integrated at moment-of-open in a consistent experience for all customers, and with minimal back-end work for the Hot Topic email team. 

Hot Topic measured click-to-open rates and click-through rates to see if the new interactive feature was successful at driving engagement. Comparing the interactive mystery scratch-off emails to other campaigns that promoted equivalent offers showed just how valuable the concept was for Hot Topic. The newly interactive mystery campaigns on average saw a 30% increase in click-to-opens, 25% increase in click-through rate, and because they were driving more people to the site, a 14% increase in conversion rate over equivalent campaigns without the new feature.

This wasn’t the only EIS Award win for CM Group, either. RevZilla and Raise, two of our sister brand Sailthru’s customers, won awards as well.

Consumers are becoming more wary about sharing their personal data, even as marketers are finding out just how valuable advanced personalization can be for their bottom lines.

That doesn’t mean personalization is doomed. But marketers do need to be smart about how they gather data, and how they personalize experiences.

Many of these tactics are detailed in Tactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization. Below, we’ll show you how consumers are shifting their attitudes on data-sharing and why advanced personalization using real-time data doesn’t rely on consumer-provided data to create email messages that are unique to each subscriber.

Consumers are Conflicted about Sharing Personal Data

Data security is on consumers’ minds, whether it comes from the 1.4 million fraud reports to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the estimated $14.8 billion lost to cybercrime or the growing number of laws regulating data collection and privacy, such as GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act.

These three recent studies underscore shifting consumer attitudes about personalization and data-sharing:

Maybe not the best news if you’re gathering consumer data for personalization efforts. But consider that consumers are still willing to trade data for perks like better prices, discounts and exclusive offers (71%), especially if they trust the retail brand and its privacy policy (73%). 

That means marketers have to work harder to show the value of sharing data and to build trust with their customers – like writing a clear privacy policy in plain language, making it easy to find and sticking to it. 

Advantages of Using Real-Time Data

The Relevancy Group’s blockbuster 2019 report, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers, found personalization using real-time data generated upwards of $20 in additional for every $1 spent on it; considerably more than adding the customer’s first name to the subject or message content or using behavior like web visits and purchases.

The beauty of this real-time data is that you can use it to automatically add or change content based on users’ email activities. You can personalize the content based on your subscriber’s open time, location or other environmental factors.

Here’s one example: At 9 a.m., you send an email promoting a hot new product to your entire subscriber base. It sells out by noon. What about the people who open your email at 1 p.m.? 

“You snooze, you lose” is not good marketing philosophy! 

Instead, combine open time with real-time inventory data to automatically update your 9 a.m. email. Instead of seeing the original product image and copy, your latecomers would see a note that the product had sold out, but they could ask to be notified when it’s back in stock. Or, you could swap in a related in-stock product, again based on live inventory data. 

New Report Details Real Results

Personalization based on real-time data helps you deliver better customer experiences every time. Preference and other customer-supplied data will always be important to your email program. But you can still create unique messages for your customers using real-time data you collect from the email environment. 

Find out how in this new Liveclicker report, Tactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization. It details the personalization tactics that deliver the best results and shares stories of two big-name brands that used real-time data to hit their goals.