Enterprise retailers with major investments in brick-and-mortar locations are on the front lines of change in today’s economy.
In a time of dramatic disruption, many are turning to their digital operations to help them keep revenue flowing and the light at the end of the tunnel as bright as possible. Locations that remain open have their own set of challenges: balancing store traffic with managing employee and customer health and safety, and dealing with supply-chain disruptions.
As a marketer, you’re probably fielding many questions about how to make your digital channels even more effective and working overtime trying to find ways to increase your company’s bottom line while maintaining an excellent customer experience with your brand.
One answer – maybe not surprisingly – is email. The reliable workhorse that consumers prefer over other digital channels for brand communications in good times is emerging as the go-to connector in turbulent times for shoppers whose favorite stores are closed for the duration.
Updated data from BounceX show email open and conversion rates soared by early April this year – open rates were up 25% and conversions topped 40%.
However, business-as-usual emails won’t help retailers make up the revenue gap or connect with unsettled or stressed customers.
Advanced personalization and real-time communications will help you solve problems now and set the stage for even better performance after the lights come on and doors open later, as you can see with these five email marketing tactics for retail stores:
1. Press “send” confidently even as conditions change. One of the biggest challenges retailers face in this uncertain economy is how quickly things change, whether it’s a product that suddenly goes out of stock, locations that open or close, or offers and messages that become outdated or inappropriate in a new context.
That means the email you send in the morning could well be out of date by the time your customer reads it even just a few hours later. It’s enough to make any email marketer anxious when it comes time to deploy their campaigns.
Gain the gift of the “take-back” with modules of editable email content you can change even after you send your campaign, using technology that lets you switch in up-to-date content based on when or where your recipient opens your email. You’ll send with confidence, knowing your audience is getting the right information whenever they open.
2. Offer real-time product recommendations: Products can fly off the shelves fast in turbulent times, and supply-chain uncertainty means shipments might not come in as regularly as before. This creates a bad customer experience even in good times. In bad times, it can quickly turn customers against your brand and even drive them to your competition.
Using real-time recommendations based on inventory levels will help you avoid promoting unavailable products online or in-store. Your messages can use adaptive product recommendations that change based on real-time inventory data.
3. Engage your loyalty-program members. Keep your VIPs and other high-value customers warmed up and ready to convert with personalized messages that build on their purchase or membership history or reveal their tier status and the benefits they’ll get when they move to a higher level. Give them advance notice of store specials or changes in hours or locations, and let them be the first to know when your doors will be open again.
4. Update triggered and transactional emails. Add value for the customers who do buy from you by including personalized recommendations, product advice or coupons based on browse or purchase history, predictive or “next logical product” models. If they’ve made an order online, include a real-time shipping tracker so they can keep an eye on their package as it’s being prepared and sent (bonus points: this can also relieve stress on your customer service center from customers calling in to ask where their order is!).
You might do this already for order-confirmation or cart abandonment emails, but look at the possibilities for including personalized or “moment of open” content in welcome emails or account-registration emails to accommodate any influx of new customers finding you online when they can’t access their preferred brands.
5. Add “tap to text” to expand email reach. Although homebound workers and students on desktops are driving up email open, click and conversion rates, their phones keep them connected to family and friends. “Tap to text” lets you reach these customers quickly with late-breaking news, updates and offers. An in-email call to action automatically populates a text when viewed on mobile or provides easy instructions to customers checking their email on desktops or other devices.
Advanced personalization and real-time messaging will help you stay connected with your customers now as we all weather the storm together. But once the world begins to recover, your email program will emerge even stronger, positioned to respond to and even anticipate your customers’ needs and wants and making your messages even more valuable to your customers.
Get even more actionable advice and tips for accelerating your retail recovery in this ebook made just for retail marketers helping their brands recover from the global crisis. Download Personalizing Your Customer Journey As Retail Returns today!
One of the most amazing pivots we’ve seen in recent weeks has been the lightning-speed turnaround in how people approach getting their food. Whether it’s from a box of groceries on the front porch or a bag from a local restaurant’s pick-up window, behavior is shifting quickly – and marketers need to adapt to keep up.
This rapid change means companies – especially those doing the crucial work of providing groceries – must scale up their customer communications at the same warp speed to keep their audience informed and supported.
Online grocery services have experienced rapid growth recently. Internet Retailer’s RetailX consumer confidence index found on March 11 that 14.2% of UK shoppers were buying more groceries online.
By March 25, that percentage had jumped to 25.8%, and shoppers using services like Waitrose and Ocado found themselves in virtual queues behind thousands of other shoppers as delivery times filled up.
Similar problems have cropped up in the United States for online grocers and delivery services facing surges in demand. An Axios survey found 41% of consumers report shopping more for groceries online. Brands find themselves balancing the difficult pressures of providing essential services while scaling up capacity in a manner that keeps their customers and employees safe.
This scramble to reinvent logistics services in order to keep customers stocked with their essentials doesn’t stop at the warehouse door. More than ever, companies need to communicate effectively with their customers as demand spikes or conditions change daily or even hourly.
Successful brands use communications strategies and technologies that they can scale up quickly, using sophisticated tactics like:
Cut the workload, increase personalization (essential for location-heavy services like groceries and takeout) and build loyalty with these email marketing strategies for online grocery businesses that make it easier to put your customers’ needs and concerns first:
1. Real-time product recommendations: High-demand products can fly off shelves in minutes. Using live inventory data lets you swap an out-of-stock item with an in-stock replacement on the fly (who expected yeast to sell out?) even after you send your email.
Real-time inventory integration updates message content based on when your customers open your messages. So, your email stays as fresh as today’s baked bread and reduces frustration for online and in-store customers alike.
2. Live delivery tracking: Here’s another great way that email can reduce uncertainty. Just by looking at the real-time tracker in their email messages, your customers can tell when their orders are being prepared, in transit or delivered. This is a great way to reduce strain on your call center and support team from customers wondering where their orders are.
3. One template, many versions: A campaign that resonates in a big city on lockdown might not apply to a rural community where shoppers may have different circumstances.
Use adaptive images, localization data and dynamic content to create nearly endless versions of a single message template with minimal effort. Instead of creating dozens of messages, you just add modules that change according to your automation rules.
Because the content changes based on where customers open your messages, you don’t have to worry about targeting segments with the wrong content.
4. Embed a social feed: As fast and flexible as email is, sometimes it’s easier to get the word out on crucial updates and changes by posting on your social media. These days, many people turn to social channels first to engage with brands for updates and questions.
When you embed a live feed of your social channels in your emails, you’ll make sure your customers always see the latest info. A properly embedded feed refreshes the moment your customer opens the message. So, you’ll know your emails will always feature the most up-to-date information, even after you send them.
No one knows how long the current emergency will last or how we will recover. Focusing your email program now to put your customers and their concerns first, shows them you stand by your commitment to them and gives them even more reason to trust your brand and products when the storm has passed. Get more insights and inspiring examples in this ebook for grocery marketers: Digital In Fast Forward: Email Personalization Best Practices for Grocery Retailers.
“Workflow efficiency” is one of marketing’s hottest topics these days, as growing pressure mounts on the marketing department to deliver more results without a corresponding increase in resources. Email marketing is one of the ripest areas for process optimization, with ample opportunity to improve productivity and results without relying on new headcount or getting stuck at organizational bottlenecks.
A Litmus survey in 2019 produced some surprising statistics about the email marketing workflows that teams use to get email campaigns out the door:
With the right tools and strategy, email teams can drastically reduce the amount of time and effort needed to get their campaigns out the door.
That would be “Fear of the Send Button.” You know, that queasy feeling you get when you’re about to hit “Send” on a campaign—especially a complex one involving many interchangeable parts—and thinking about all the things that could go wrong.
Dynamic content, especially content that updates on its own automatically based on “moment of open,” allows you to send the most up-to-date and accurate emails.
Your customers are happier with relevant personalized emails, and your team spends less time getting campaigns out the door and more time on planning, analyzing and innovating.
Automated messaging can take some of the time and headaches out of campaign creation and deployment. But dynamic content helps close the loop to create an even better customer experience with email, as you can see below:
Sometimes days or even weeks pass before a subscriber will open your message. In the meantime; inventory can sell out, offers can expire, or other conditions might change.
You could send a follow-up email (that you have to create, code, test and get approved) with updated information.
Or, you can simply use a dynamic content element to swap in the updated message – even after it’s already been sent! That’s a huge reduction in time and resources needed to keep your customers up-to-date.
An event like a store opening or closing is most meaningful to the people who live in the store’s market area. So instead of creating a fresh message for every event, use a single message template and incorporate a real-time element like location.
The images below show how clothing retailer Torrid uses adaptive images to create excitement leading up to and on the day before a store opening. Check out the before and after below. Added bonuses: a live map, an add-to-calendar function that sends a personalized reminder and an invitation to RSVP on Facebook give customers more possibilities to participate.
Updating your message templates fresh takes time and energy. Maybe that’s why only 39% of marketers review their automated templates every few months instead of waiting a year or longer, according to Litmus. But templates age out quickly these days; it doesn’t take long to look or sound out-of-date.
Live content feeds can pull fresh content from your website, social media accounts and other content sources into designated modules in your message templates. You could adjust them to always show your current featured products, your brand’s latest Instagram posts, or the hottest trending articles on your site right now. That means you can spend less time going back and managing/updating your triggered campaigns and templates!
People who don’t open your email right away might be disappointed if they click to the website, only to find the item is sold out or the price changed.
Nobody can afford unhappy customers these days. So, use dynamic content linked to your inventory to replace the original message with a note about the current status and a replacement offer.
Hot Topic implemented this tactic in their email strategy and saw customer complaints drop virtually to zero. Learn more about how they did it here.
Loyalty programs are fertile ground for this. Your VIPs need to feel wanted and special. You can make that happen by showing members in each tier of your program where they’re at, what benefits they can claim now and what’s possible at higher levels.
You can guess where we’re going with this. You could create multiple versions of a loyalty email, or you could use a single template that automatically inserts the appropriate content to subscribers according to their tier levels.
That’s what Torrid did when it was updating its popular Torrid Rewards program.
Using multiple automatically personalized elements on like dynamic images and adaptive individualization based on account status, Torrid sends each VIP member a monthly statement summarizing their activity, reminding them to spend their Rewards cash and letting them know when their tier credits expire. Urgency + transparency = winners all around.
Dynamic messaging based on real-time content gives your subscribers the relevant personalized messaging that drives action while helping you redefine and streamline your messaging workflow.
You can produce more beautiful, more relevant content in less time and with less reliance on IT and developer resources. If you’re looking for a real win-win, check out our RealTime Personalization solution!
What’s your biggest concern about moving up to advanced personalization?
Maybe you wonder whether you can afford the technology. Do you worry about whether you can count on IT to help you launch it, or find all the data you think you need to reach that next level of relevance?
If that’s what’s on your mind, you’re not alone. Research from the The Relevancy Group found retailers had four general areas of concern that kept them from taking advantage of real-time data and other efforts that can bring marketers an additional $20 ROI and give them an edge over competitors like Amazon.
Beyond just naming those objections, though, The Relevancy Group also suggests ways retailers can overcome them in its new report, The Value of Advanced Personalization for Retailers:
Using real-time data in an advanced personalization platform isn’t just the latest shiny toy on the shelf. It can help you give your customers a better experience with your brand – which often translates into stronger loyalty and longer retention – and solve operational problems on your company’s end.
Download Liveclicker’s latest report, Overcoming Challenges to Advanced Personalization, to learn how two major retail brands – Dunhill, a British luxury fashion retailer, and Hot Topic, a U.S. pop culture and fashion brand – used real-time data to build event interest and solve sold-out inventory problems.
Now you know that using advanced personalization can deliver upwards of $20 in added revenue for every $1 you spend on the technology – and that’s on top of the $44 in average ROI your email program could already be earning.
We’re excited to finally see that benefit quantified for the first time. But maybe your initial reaction to The Relevancy Group’s new report, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers, isn’t “Wow! How can I get in on that?”
But many marketers are understandably skeptical about claims such as this. Maybe you’re thinking, “Yeah, right. You’re going to have to show me.”
If you’re the kind of marketer that needs to see to believe, Tactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization, shows how two well-known brands capitalized on advanced email personalization techniques and ended up not just meeting the higher revenues and conversions from advanced personalization, but smashing past them.
You’ll have to download the report to learn which brands claimed the spotlight. But here’s a quick look at six of the needle-moving tactics they used to push past the usual gains and to solve some nagging email issues.
The Relevancy Group’s report found the basic personalization (personalizing the subject line or adding the customer’s name to the email content) has little to no effect on added revenue. Purchase-based personalization performs better. But the tactics that have the greatest potential for increasing sales are:
What’s the true value of advanced personalization? It uses real-time data to deliver superior email experiences tailored to each individual customer. See what innovative brands are doing to level up their relevance, and test their tactics to improve your own KPIs.
A digital television entertainment service with customers throughout the United States and Latin America used real-time email to make buying subscriptions to its premium sports programming package easier and also to build brand awareness in a hotly contested field.
The brand used a one-click tap-to-text function that automatically updated an email message opened on a mobile device with a tap-to-text link. Customers could tap that link to buy or upgrade their entertainment packages.
Result: This one-click tactic helped the brand double sales in just about five weeks. Download the report to get the brand name and see sales numbers.
One tactic can be enough to generate sizable results, like those for our first brand. But, when you combine five tactics to carry out a strategy, the results can be nothing short of amazing.
An international entertainment company that operates theme parks around the world uses real-time data in email to build awareness, increase interactivity to prompt immediate responses and smooth the pathway to ticket sales.
Here’s what this brand used in its emails:
Results: The brand saw a significant increase in the click-to-open rate, which is a more specific measure of customer engagement than a basic open or click rate, and a double-digit increase in conversions. Download the report to learn the brand name and see the results in detail.
Bonus: Using the countdown timer module cut the campaign production time for countdown emails!
Two caveats about using these tactics: The brands chose them strategically to achieve specific marketing goals, not just at random because they’re cool tools. Each brand also measured success with metrics that were tied to those goals. Both steps are essential to achieve success with advanced email personalization.
Want to learn more? Download Tactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization to get more background information about using real-time data in personalizing emails.
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.
In the first article of our two-part series on designing real-time email, I gave a few examples of real-time content, demonstrated why designers (and their companies) should want to use it, and presented tips to help choose the right real-time experiences. In case you missed it, you can read Part 1 here.
Now it’s time for Part 2. In this article, I’ll give you specific email design best practices and tips to help design memorable, engaging, and effective real-time email experiences.
I always tell designers that they should start the process in much the same way they would with a traditional static email. But this is just the starting point. From there, you should think about the entire user experience, which will include every touchpoint as a recipient opens your email, digests the real-time content, and then engages by clicking through to a landing page or interacting with your real-time elements.
I also recommend that you get creative in the way you think about using advanced email experiences, and how you can use them to present personalized content in ways your audience might not expect (but will love when you get it right!)
For example, Discover used our LiveRender capability to personalize emails by embedding an animated graphic that showed recipients their exact mileage balance and how much they would gain with a special matching promotion.
In this case, the design became a win-win: Consumers loved the experience, and Discover increased click-through rates by 46%.
One quick note: The Discover email is just one example of well-designed real-time content. To see many more—in all phases of the customer lifecycle—download our LookBook today.
Real-time email content can accommodate branding styles and approaches that aren’t typically seen in traditional emails. This means that designing these kinds of emails may give you the chance to have fun and be a little more creative. I’ve found that real-time emails usually go hand-in-hand with the most innovative (dare I say cool), design work.
Liveclicker’s RealTime Email platform can even accommodate your branding “must haves,” such as custom fonts, CSS formatting, branded images and animations, and other branding necessities that typically aren’t applied to dynamic content.
Also, if your company has video assets, flaunt them in email. Research from Campaign Monitor shows that including video in email can boost click-through rates up to 65%, and at the same time, it helps minimize the struggle to find or include new content.
With RealTime Email, video can play directly in the inbox, delighting your audience by giving them something they might not have expected to receive. So give video a try! Welcome emails are a great place to start, especially since you’ll impress your customers with your very first message.
It also helps to keep responsive design in mind. Remember that your audience will open your emails on a wide range of screens. So take a look at your email and its landing pages on mobile, tablet, and desktop. Generally speaking, it helps to know what specific device the majority of the audience will be using.
Even beyond that, it’s good to know additional details such as operating system, email client, or if they’re using Web-mail such as Gmail to receive emails.
It’s also important to think about how your creative will look on higher-resolution screens. For the best results, I recommend using Retina images, a higher resolution that is twice as many pixels per inch (ppi) than the normal web 72 ppi. Even if the rest of the email doesn’t use such high resolution, you will still get the best results using Retina-quality images for your real-time content.
You probably know how to set up Retina images, but if not, here’s a quick tip. Make your image resolution 144 ppi instead of the normal 72 ppi. If you’re entering this information in Liveclicker’s RealTime Email platform, enter height and width dimensions that are half the height and width of the retina image(s).
Don’t you hate it when the marketing team wants to force too much content into your elegant design? You can use advanced email experiences in creative ways to deliver this content in a more efficient space and help you stay in control of your design. These include LiveSlides, LiveVideo, LiveImage, and more.
You should also think about quantifying your real-time email results by testing them against a static email. This will help you understand what works and what doesn’t and help you develop innovative new ideas to improve future emails with real-time email content.
You can even test your campaign within our RealTime Email platform. Our Adaptive Testing capability lets you automatically roll out a winning test as determined by statistical significance. This makes sure the winning creative is launched effectively, without having to wait extra time to manually deploy this version as a future campaign.
Finally, remember that some experiences require creative assets for different states—for example, for LiveHover you’ll need to think about the cover state, hover state, animation fallback and create images for all.
I hope these tips are helpful as you continue to design innovative emails that connect and engage consumers in new ways. If I can answer any questions, please feel free to contact me. And don’t forget: for even more real examples of well designed email campaigns, download our LookBook now!
When used at the right place and the right time, even relatively simple application of real-time personalization can deliver impressive improvements to your email program and holiday marketing metrics.
As we count down to the start of the holiday season, find out how one ecommerce company grew revenue 110% along with click throughs and site visits in their holiday campaigns by using real-time personalization effectively.
Holiday ecommerce sales reached a record $122 billion last year; a 16% YoY increase. And this year is poised to be even bigger.
That kind of growth presents huge opportunities for brands with the right strategy. By incorporating real-time content into their emails, One Click Ventures was able to increase holiday email revenues by more than 110%!
One Click Ventures sets ambitious holiday targets for all its ecommerce brands, including site like Readers.com, Sunglass Warehouse and felix + iris.
The company aims to deliver tailored and engaging customer experiences through digital communications to drive conversions and increase revenue through personalized email marketing efforts.
But, historically the organization faced familiar obstacles. Their consistent, standardized email design lacked impact and was unable to connect with target audiences in a unique and individually relevant manner. And they had few tools with which to create a sense of urgency and convert short-term sales.
A Real Solution in Real Time
To update its ecommerce email marketing strategy and drive better holiday results, One Click Ventures turned to dynamic, real-time personalization.
One tactic that was particularly successful was the incorporation of countdown timers to generate interest for important holiday sales and events.
From ticking down to a big Black Friday sale to chanting away the last seconds of the year on New Years’ Eve, the holidays are full of events worth counting down to. Countdown timers are the perfect tool to build anticipation for special occasions and put fuel to the FOMO fire.
As the holiday season warmed up, One Click Started using countdown timers to promote flash sales, ‘last day of deal’ notifications, and major discounts around events like Cyber Monday.
This simple addition delivered major impact. The substantial 110% email revenue growth was powered by 12%+ bump in conversion rate and a 90% increase in site visits.
The countdown timers also brought something to subscribers that they hadn’t had before: a reason to come back and open emails time and again to check on the ticking clocks.
“When we used a countdown timer in our Cyber Monday campaign we saw 43% of subscribers that opened the email actually re-open it later,” said Stephanie Cox, Director of Digital Marketing.
More opens on a key Cyber Monday email meant more exposure to the ecommerce brands’ offers and more opportunities to convert sales. Last year’s Cyber Monday generated $7.9 billion in online sales by itself, and email was responsible for about 1/4th of it. Imagine the kind of results your own Black Friday/Cyber Monday emails could drive if they had a 43% re-open rate!
Something as straightforward as adding a custom real-time countdown timer in your holiday emails can translate to 14% higher click-to-open rates, 59% higher transaction-to-click rates, and twice as high transaction rates compared to your average marketing emails.
If you’re considering adding this tool to your arsenal, or want to use it better, keep the following in mind.
The occasional strategically placed timer is a surprising, compelling email feature that incites immediate action. But including one in every campaign can have the ‘crying wolf effect,’ causing openers to glaze over them. Save countdown timers for when you really need to make an impact and when they make thematic sense with the rest of your creative and offers.
Use seconds or smaller units of time when appropriate.
Part of what ignites that excitement and FOMO is seeing the constant, inevitable ticking of the clock. But subscribers won’t get that effect as strongly if you’re using larger minimum time units like minutes or hours! Check out this eye-catching sample ticking away the seconds from Dunhill London:
Test, optimize, and test again. Most audiences respond positively to real-time content like countdown timers, but there’s no guarantee that yours does. And even if your subscribers love your timers, there’s always room for improvement in layout, time increments, design and more.
Use a real-time personalization platform to design your timers.
When using a countdown timer in email, a simple gif isn’t going to cut it. Basic moving images don’t have the capability to adapt to time or location of open, and they may display inaccurate information—especially once the timer runs out. A real-time email personalization platform will send a personalized timer to each opener and allows you to swap in new content once the timer has run out. For example, here’s an example of an email with a timer from Pier 1 Imports:
And here’s the cheery image that was swapped in once the timer expired:
The holidays are fast approaching, and time is limited to start incorporating those big difference-making tactics and tools into your holiday ecommerce email marketing strategy.
That’s why many leading ecommerce and retail brands are already making extensive use of countdown timers and other real-time content to create a sense of urgency and convert more shoppers throughout the holiday season.
See for yourself how the most innovative email marketers combine countdown clocks with advanced personalization and interactive features to drive more results and gain more holiday revenue. We feature great examples like this in our holiday lookbook:
Consider it an early gift from us to you as you look for ways to improve your holiday ecommerce email marketing strategy.
Summer months represent the peak season for companies in the travel and hospitality industries, especially as so many of us travel, take vacations, rent a car, and (hopefully) get the chance to unwind.
Yet marketing teams in these industries realize that the traditional holiday season also represents a significant opportunity to help them increase their “heads-in-beds” and other utilization metrics, and ultimately, maximize revenues.
So if you’re looking for a little inspiration, or an idea to turbocharge your marketing efforts this year, here are some proven holiday email marketing tips, tricks, and best practices from two of the world’s leading travel and hospitality brands: Celebrity Cruises and Hertz.
Celebrity Cruises recently needed a new approach to its standard emails in order to increase click-through rates, engagement metrics, and generate higher revenues. The brand also hoped to move away from using too many promotion-based emails—a standard approach in the industry—to further maximize profitability.
Celebrity Cruises partnered with Liveclicker to design and deploy highly personalized, highly engaging email campaigns for loyal guests, one of the company’s most profitable segments. The objective was to use each customers’ data in creative ways to relive their past experience or their overall journey as a loyal guest.
The emails accomplished this goal—and so much more.
For example, using innovative real-time personalization strategies, Celebrity Cruises’ marketing team came up with fun new ways to display significant milestones in each guest’s sail history. For example, different emails featured personalized content to highlight key details such as:
By all accounts, the entire campaign was a success. Celebrity Cruise developed engaging emails its customers loved, and in doing so, generated revenues three times higher than its standard “business-as-usual” emails.
Holiday marketing tip: Use customer information to personalize holiday email marketing campaigns in ways your audience may not expect. You’ll foster long-term relationships and create a first-class experience that is bound to pay off!
Hertz needed a better approach for its reservation confirmation emails. Specifically, the company was looking to delight its customers by providing as much helpful information into these emails as possible.
In working with Liveclicker, the Hertz marketing team realized that it could display maps and clickable directions that would help its customers find their specific rental locations to pick up their cars.
Hertz used an API link to a native map application to successfully automate the process of adding and updating maps on a regular basis. This new capability enabled Hertz to create dynamic reservation confirmation emails that included a map and detailed directions to the exact location.
Additionally, to provide more information and deliver an even better experience, Hertz also incorporated weather details, forecasts, and local activities to help customers plan ahead. The brand even created a specific poll to ask interactive questions for follow-up emails. This capability helped Hertz quickly gather valuable feedback about customers’ rental experiences.
In addition, Hertz used Liveclicker’s LivePoll feature to ask interactive questions in follow-up emails. This capability helped the rental car companies quickly gather valuable feedback about customers’ rental experiences.
These emails exceeded expectations. Not only did they increase click-through rates and reduce production times, but they generated impressive customer response.
Holiday marketing tip: Leave no stone unturned in your search to find new ways to communicate with customers and deliver engaging new experiences. Reservation confirmations and even order-tracking emails can now be used to communicate valuable information and continue to market your products or services.
Looking for even more holiday email marketing ideas, you can download our new guide, “9 Solutions (With Real-Life Examples!) to Retailers’ Biggest Headaches,” now!