Thrive Market and Sephora Tie for Top Spot: Thrive Market Wins with an Insights-Driven Approach to Email and Mobile, While Sephora Excels with a Robust Connection Between Online and Offline Channels

Liveclicker, a CM Group brand and the leading personalized marketing automation technology provider for retailers and publishers, announced today the results of the 2022 Retail Personalization Index. Thrive Market, the health-first membership for conscious living, and Sephora, global beauty retailer, have tied for the top spot in the 5th annual analysis. Thrive Market earned high scores for its sophisticated mobile app and email experiences using a data-driven personalization strategy that enriches the entire customer experience. Sephora saw success for its highly orchestrated online and in-store personalization approach based on loyalty and experiential marketing. DSW earned the third spot for its personalized communications during a customer’s first interactions with the brand and an online shopping experience that mirrors the one in store.

With a combination of DTC start-ups and large brick-and-mortar companies at the forefront this year, top performers prove that every type of retailer can use the zero- and first-party data they collect to create highly successful personalization strategies that deliver more value for customers and higher returns for brands.

“Over the past two years, brands have had to focus on short-term gains, whereas consumers have increased their expectations for meaningful personalization both online and in store. That means there is now a lot of work to be done in order for brands to meet these new customer expectations and see successful revenue generation at the same time,” said Jason Grunberg, General Manager at Sailthru. “With more retailers turning to zero- and first-party data strategies to drive the future of marketing, it is more important than ever to create value-driven personalized engagement with customers to collect insights that offer continuously better experiences – and revenue opportunities – across every touchpoint.”

The top five scoring brands in the 2022 Retail Personalization Index are: 

“We are thrilled to have been crowned as a top performing brand in this year’s Retail Personalization Index. Personalization is integrated into our entire customer strategy, from the moment someone lands on our webpage, to our ongoing relationship on email and on our app. Our approach to personalization creates incredible value for our members – and drives strong performance for the business,” said Lindsay McGovern, Senior Director of CRM & Lifestyle at Thrive Market. “We see an accelerated first-to-purchase experience, stronger repeat purchase rates, and higher overall lifetime value.”

While Thrive Market dominated the mobile category with its highly intuitive app that is driven by past purchases and preferences, Sephora topped the website category with a robust loyalty-driven experience that makes the beauty retailer’s vast product catalog feel relevant to millions of customers — and seamlessly connects online experiences to in-store shopping. 

Email also proved to be a top performing channel for DTC and native digital brands, such as 1stDibs, Wayfair and Fashion Nova, which jumped from 69th in 2021 to 12th place in this year’s overall ranking. Ranked sixth, Fabletics scored highest in email for its advanced product filtering and curated product recommendations among many features. Thrive Market also earned high marks for its email approach, in which the brand delivers an experience that is immediately personalized from onboarding data and continues to integrate even more advanced personalization elements over time. The brand also includes a combination of newsletters and triggered content in its emails that help gather additional insights and drive more sales. 

Consumers are aware of the value exchange that drives personalization and favor brands that offer personalized experiences. A study commissioned by Coresight Research and Liveclicker as part of the 2022 Retail Personalization index, found that 71% of consumers will shop more often with brands or retailers that personalize their communications. While the vast majority (98%) of retail marketers use some form of advanced personalization, many are not delivering personalized experiences that live up to consumer expectations. While 71% of retailers think they excel in personalization in marketing, only 34% of consumers agree. It is critically important for retailers to develop more value-driven personalization that encourages true consumer engagement across channels and supports zero- and first-party data collection to support personalized marketing and commerce in the future. There is ample opportunity for retail brands who rise to the challenge, as 80% of consumers noted that they would share data in exchange for deals and offers, while 70% would share data for loyalty points.

About the 2022 Retail Personalization Index

A team of researchers calculated the scores of the Retail Personalization Index, which come from a checklist of 80 attributes that a retailer could implement to personalize and/or enhance a customer’s experience across site, email, mobile, other digital channels (which includes in-store, social, and traditional mail), offline, and privacy. The 2022 Retail Personalization Index also includes findings from three surveys: 

Gen Z is rewriting the rules of engagement when it comes to technology, shopping, media, brand loyalty, and more. And marketers who aren’t evolving their strategies to engage this younger generation are already falling behind.

How Can Marketers Meet Gen Z Expectations?

A body of research is emerging that shows how Gen Z is different from their predecessors, but the nature of those differences and the implications for brands have remained largely hypothetical – until now.

To help marketers put the Gen Z difference into real-world context, CM Group recently partnered with F’inn on a cross-generational survey of more than 1,000 consumers, Marketing to Gen Z: A Fresh Approach to Reach a New Generation of Consumers.

For a sneak peek at the results of this study, check out the infographic below:

Gen Z

What do email and retail marketing have in common? Besides looking completely different from what they did a few years ago, both are on the verge of another fundamental transformation.

With 2022 on the horizon, retail marketers will depend on email marketing to achieve their goals and elevate customer experiences even more than they already do. Traditional lines between brick-and-mortar shopping and ecommerce will continue to blur, giving any brand that harnesses the power of dynamic personalization technology a huge advantage in growing audience engagement, loyalty, and conversions.

Especially if you combine tailored content with advanced digital commerce tools to stay ahead of next year’s strategic evolution. Now’s the perfect time to create a winning email strategy — so start by incorporating three key tips that will help you take advantage of tomorrow’s retail trends.

Tap Into Hybrid Shopping’s High Growth Potential

While millions of holiday shoppers were excited to shop in-store for the first time in a few years, a large portion of retail consumers elected to stay at home because they’re still weary about COVID-19 safety protocols. Add in the growing popularity of more customer-friendly fulfillment options like curbside pickup and buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS), and all the trends point to a continued demand for hybrid shopping experiences fueled by email interactions in 2022.

With the support of AI and  data-driven tools like live video, localized weather forecasts and customized store locator information, email continues to be a top-performing tool for creating stronger relationships with customers.

Delight Your Customers with a Winning Email Strategy Using New Discoveries

A personalized product recommendation is always best. Smart marketers tap into data like browsing history, customer reviews, and click-to-reveal offers to create moments of delight for shoppers. Studies show that personalization can deliver an ROI of $20 or more.

After all, you’ve spent weeks, months, or years collecting data to learn everything about your shopper’s buying habits, brand preferences, and what motivates them to purchase.  

A “You Might Like These Items Too” list or a “Complete the Look” promotion is a fun, creative, and — most importantly — effective way to engage your email subscribers to capture customer preference data and make more sales online. Offering dynamic content to these interactions to make your hottest sellers easy to find — or to make finding that new item they didn’t know about five minutes ago a must-have purchase.

Deliver Exceptional Experiences on Every Channel

Email is even more powerful when you pair it with mobile and social commerce channels. But no two shoppers are the same.

For someone looking to comparison shop safely from home before visiting their favorite store to complete a purchase, a store locator embedded directly into your email experience alongside driving directions, hours of operation, and live inventory level displays, is an engaging way to bridge the gap between in-store and ecommerce experiences.

Meanwhile, others may be looking for a brand that makes it easy to browse and buy from anywhere at any time. Personalized video content, subscriber-sourced social media posts and product reviews, and integrated mobile app download messages are all excellent ways to extend your reach and keep loyal customers connected.

Today’s powerful AI technology gives retailers several mission-critical advantages to know your customer better, and to be where your customers are in real time.  Liveclicker makes it easier than ever to enhance your email marketing strategy and work alongside your existing martech platforms and products of choice.

Ready to greet the future and change the game with a winning email strategy in 2022? Check out our latest round of Email Innovators Awards Winners to see how a more engaging email experience is only a few clicks away!

The media and retail worlds have more in common than ever. Between Apple’s iOS 15 privacy updates, impending doom for third-party data cookies, and a headstart to the holiday season, the moral of the story is that similar changes are occurring across both industries.

For members of both marketing crowds, this means audience data is no longer nice to have — it’s a must-have. Today, the value exchange you create with every reader, consumer, and email recipient is what separates your brand and makes your content stand out from the competing noise.

And that’s a huge advantage when it comes to creating stronger reader relationships. Especially if you’re laser-focused on engagement and able to take a page or two out of retail’s top-performing playbooks. After all, these companies have been using low-effort, high-impact email tactics to enhance reader experiences for years!

Exclusive access, more personalized messaging, and interactive email content can make any media or publishing brand’s marketing experiences more satisfying. These tactics can deliver:

What are you waiting for? Level up your email engagement rate and reader relationships now by downloading What Media and Publishing Can Learn from Retail’s Top Performers!

Personalizing a prospective customer’s first visit to your website can give them a memorable customer experience. As long as you don’t cross the line from “Cool, this is what I’m interested in,” to “I’ve never been here before, why do you know so much about me?”

A few well-chosen data points can help you personalize first-time shopper experiences to serve up relevant content. And that’s even before your first-time visitors click around your site, use your search function, or sign up for your emails. 

Start at the source for web and email personalization

How someone found your website or email program is a data point many marketers overlook. Did they click from an organic search listing, a paid search campaign or an Instagram campaign? Did they opt in from a Facebook or LinkedIn post, find you on Pinterest or opt in at one of your stores? 

All of these give you context and first-party data you can use to show first-time visitors copy, images or offers that are relevant to that source. One example: an opt-in invitation tailored to first-time visitors who click to your site from your Instagram page can convert better than a generic pop-up.

Cookie data gives you useful data you can convert into personalized content, even in this era of default cookie-blocking. Help wary users feel more comfortable about enabling cookies—and sharing their first-party data—by showing first-time shoppers what they’ll get in exchange for opting in.

Personalize first-time shopper experiences by building an email onboarding journey that nurtures newcomers

Once your first-time site visitors find your site, your next job is to bring them back. Call on your email messaging program to keep your brand name in front of your customers in the inbox, to give them reasons to come back to your site, and encourage them to buy.

The onboarding or welcome series is your first step in that relationship. After all, it can help you achieve some key marketing goals:

Once again, your acquisition source is a data-driven starting point to personalize first-time shopper experiences—as well as the rest of your onboarding or welcome series messages for other audiences. Using dynamic content, you could send one version of your onboarding journey to subscribers who signed up onsite and another to people who opted in during checkout or when creating an account or registering for an event. 

It’s really just good old-fashioned drip marketing, in which you assign customers to different messaging tracks, each with its own set of emails. 

A welcome message for a non-purchaser, for example, could deliver an incentive intended to drive a first purchase or invite the newcomer to open an account. Customers who opted in during checkout, however, don’t need that extra discount. Instead, you could promote your mobile app or invite them to follow your social accounts. Later on, circle back after the purchase with a special offer to drive a follow-up purchase.

Want more data? Ask for it!

The preference center should be your gold mine of valuable data to personalize every first-time shopper experience—from web visits to email messages. But all too often we see classic examples of a good idea executed badly. 

Sure you want to serve customers a lot of highly relevant, personalized products and services. But do you really want to make customers scroll through a long list of options on your website? That’s a nightmare for time-pressed users, especially if they’re peering at tiny mobile screens. 

So, do the work for your customers instead. Ask for data gradually, over several emails. Begin in your onboarding series and then mix in preference-data request emails with your regular promotional campaigns.

The Thrive Market email below matches up a data request with customer interests. Sent as one email in a four-message onboarding series, it begins with a survey invitation. Note how the wording addresses one of the objections to doing surveys: “We promise it won’t take longer than slicing an avocado.”

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Then, Thrive Market links directly to 12 different interior sites within its website. Click data on those links reveals their interests without asking for it outright—enabling the brand to drive dynamic content in future messages, too. What better way to make a first impression?

Trade freebies for data to personalize first-time shopper experiences

Your VIP treatment can make first-time customers and loyal buyers alike feel special. So special, in fact, that it nets you even more valuable data. The birthday-request email Sephora sends is a great example of this something-for-something value exchange.

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One key feature in Sephora’s data-driven email program is the birthday email, which gives customers in its rewards program a gift on their birthdays. The email asking for birthday info generates a wealth of data (as you can see). And all for the price of triggering a sweet little freebie for the recipient.

Besides asking for the user’s birthday, however, this email also collects their personal brand and product preferences indirectly. By giving customers the option to choose their own gift, Sephora can find out which brands they like to shop, or if they prefer products or loyalty points over discounts. All of that data helps Sephora understand its customers better, improve messaging precision, and ultimately create some of the most personalized first-time shopper experiences in retail.

Ramp up personalization on triggered emails

Tailoring email content to reflect web behavior is another best practice, especially with abandoned cart and browse abandonment emails. It can also help you resolve an age-old email question: when (and if) to add an incentive to encourage never-before-seen buyers to finish checking out.

Using dynamic content in combination with email triggers, you can automatically serve a discount or other personalized incentive to first-time buyers. Making them much more likely to buy from your brand—while simultaneously preventing every shopper from scoring a sale price or snagging up all of your deal sweeteners.

Personalize the post-purchase email experience

After securing a shopper’s first purchase, your next task is to ask for a second purchase. The faster you can bring first-time buyers back to buy again, the sooner they’ll become regular customers. That shortens the next-purchase cycle and decreases churn—a two-for-one winning tactic. The catch: it takes a highly personal shopping experience to do consistently.

If you’re not doing this yet, start small. Blend in personalized recommendations with your regular promotional content in a broadcast email. A “curated for you” approach that uses dynamic content to spotlight products based on each customer’s purchase history is an easy way to boost clicks, conversions, and engagement.

It’s no secret that email marketers are dealing with increased workloads. Today, you’re being asked to do more than ever—and with less time, budget, and team bandwidth too.

Which is why centralized martech solutions are becoming more and more necessary with each passing day. Over the last six months, we’ve seen a nearly 40% increase in the use of API-based integrations among our partners—proving that brand-specific personalization tools are necessary for bridging the industry’s most important knowledge gaps by giving marketers access to their entire suite of integrated third-party platforms, software products, and data feeds from a single location.

With this in mind, we’re excited to announce our direct integration with world-leading brand language optimization technology provider Phrasee. And even more excited to see the brand-specific email experiences you create using this new, seamless combination of your brand’s best-performing content, loyal customer insights, and industry-leading personalization capabilities.

“We have a shared goal of creating a single, user-friendly hub for email marketers to make it easy to access the very best content and capabilities for their campaigns. Together, we offer a better overall service and more robust capabilities, and we’re thrilled to help email marketers integrate intelligent brand content support from Phrasee, easily and all in one place,” said Kenna Hillburn, Chief Operating Officer at Liveclicker.

So, what do you stand to gain from our Phrasee integration? Let’s explore the advantages brand-optimized personalization can deliver your business now!

Create more (and better) CTAs faster with the power of Phrasee and Liveclicker at your fingertips

Personalization is essential for any brand looking to build solid, long-term relationships with its customers. Not only does it help boost engagement, but it also can reduce customer acquisition costs—allowing marketers to focus on increasing the lifetime value of their current customers (a more cost-effective tactic) rather than focusing on engagement-driven audience metrics.

And while email experts are aware of this reality, many still struggle to implement personalization into their existing efforts and into their CTAs in a way that doesn’t sacrifice elements of their brand voice and style. Now is the time for brands to look past standard, non-personalized messaging in favor of personalized experiences that are woven into every step of the customer journey.

Liveclicker’s integration with Phrasee helps you create brand language that turns opens into clicks—and clicks into loyal customers. We make it easy for you to deliver personalized experiences with the right content, at the right time, to the right people—all in your unique brand voice.

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Why is this so important? Because studies show that personalized CTAs convert 202% better than default or standard messaging, and 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase that is personalized. Together, we help you increase conversions by creating “brand-centric” copy in less time. And by making it possible to test your email experiences at the moment of engagement, you can be sure your team is always sending the most relevant, impactful content to every recipient.

Scale your marketing efforts without sacrificing your brand’s voice 

Take the guesswork out of creating high-converting copy by testing multiple, AI-powered CTAs code-free in just a few clicks. Phrasee’s integration with Liveclicker helps you spend less time stressing over what works by adding proven, brand-optimized CTAs automatically to your live, personalized elements.

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This allows you to quickly determine which option(s) are most likely to positively influence your click-through rates and immediately deploy that winning option to the rest of your campaign. That data is then automatically sent back to our system so you can create future CTAs that include the language that customers are not only responding to, but that they’ve come to know, love, and expect from your brand. 

Introduce new campaigns with language that is relevant to every customer

Creating and deploying new campaigns just became easier and quicker, particularly for nimble teams who don’t have much time to generate a bunch of new CTAs.

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So, whether you want to introduce a new product category or roll out a new seasonal product, our integration makes it easier to automate your brand’s voice, create clear CTAs throughout your personalized experiences, and ultimately make each offer irresistible. 

Validate what is working based on data, and not just a gut feeling

No more subjective squabbles over language or endless hours in the thesaurus. We know that the process of creating and testing multiple email messages can be long, overwhelming, and very subjective. Our integration helps you confirm assumptions based on data so you can stop creating copy that just sounds good and let the data tell you exactly what is good.

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We also help you automate the process of adding variants to your personalized elements, A/B testing them, and updating the winning experience immediately so that your campaigns are optimized in real-time for success.

For more information about what our Phrasee integration means for you and email marketers everywhere, click here to check out Liveclicker’s Phrasee partner page. Or, read our press release to learn more.

For any media brand, your biggest competition to hook new holiday readers won’t be another network or news outlet. It’s all those holiday emails filling up your readers’ inboxes.

But don’t close the book on email until after New Year’s Day! Instead, check out these tactics that top retailers use to cut through the clutter, grab readers’ attention, and move engaged subscribers to act. 

In other words, you can beat them at their own game. And if you keep reading, we can show you how.

Email connects you to your audience and new holiday readers

As a media brand, email can connect your audience (and hopefully, a lot of new holiday readers) directly to your latest  books, news stories, TV shows, streaming platforms, or subscription models. But a strategically designed newsletter can also move your audiences to your platform permanently—increasing their daily brand interaction and likelihood to buy.

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So, instead of waiting for them to discover your content, use a well-timed, personalized email to nudge them into action.

Remember the days of  “appointment TV?”

A well-timed email can remind your new holiday readers when and why to tune in now instead of waiting to catch your shows later. Got breaking news? Share it fast in an email bulletin, and track individual engagement and responses to learn which content gets your audience excited.

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You can even use the data you’ve collected directly from your readers or viewers to create highly personalized messages featuring dynamic content that looks as if you chose it just for them. This season, don’t be afraid to call on the power of email—and your audience’s propensity for checking their inboxes regularly—to stay in touch, to persuade them to engage with your emails, to reward them for viewing or reading your newest content, and to whip up excitement about new programs and whatever’s coming next. 

Another bonus to hook new holiday readers: reliable first-party data

Publishers will be among the most affected when Google’s plan to kill off third-party cookies in its Chrome browser goes into effect sometime in 2023 (or later if another delay happens). After all, every other browser is likely to emulate that move sooner or later. 

Today, media brands are ramping up efforts to collect more first-party data before they’re forced to make any changes due to outside factors. And the email address is both a solid piece of first-party data by itself and the gateway to a reservoir of activity tied to it—from predicted future subscriber engagement levels to preference, interest, and behavior data tied to these unique digital identifiers.

Apple’s MPP ups the engagement ante for everyone

Amidst all this email optimism, however, publishers share a data privacy concern with their retail compatriots. 

They’re also figuring out how to grapple with Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature in its iOS 15 update, which masks the open rate in an effort to block the kind of tracking email senders rely on for engagement. (Click here to learn more about these changes and make your email marketing evolution possible.)

Today, one important question remains unanswered: How can publishers create engaging content that helps them attract and retain audiences and stand out in busy inboxes? Our answer: Watch what top retailers do and see which three of the following tactics work best for your brand.

4 tactics top retailers use to snag attention and drive action—and how you can use them to hook new holiday readers

1. Automatically pull live web content into your email messages

The secret to email marketing success in media and publishing is efficiency. And one of the best timesavers you can implement is automatically sharing out the content you post on your website with targeted audience segments who are most interested in it—and therefore the most likely to engage with your emails as a result of this addition.

Your subscribers and hew holiday readers alike will see your news as it happens. Tempting them to click through for the full story on your website. You won’t have to wait for them to discover your content on their own ever again.

You could create dozens of individual email newsletters with bits and pieces of fresh web content—but if you’re in the news business, that’s like writing newspapers one by one or hand-crafting a news broadcast for each viewer. It just doesn’t scale.

And sending one-message-fits-all news updates to everyone in your audience will turn off people who aren’t into what you’re sending. Especially new holiday readers who can find similar content in thousands of other places with a simple Google search.

Dynamic content implemented directly into your email experience through real-time data feeds or web scraping tools is the best way to avoid leaving new holiday readers out in the cold feeling disengaged. By using subscriber or viewer behavior, preference, and interest data to select and load content into designated modules in your email template, you can identify any audience perfect for a targeted campaign and maximize their engagement level through highly relevant messaging.

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Bonus 1: If you’re tracking breaking news, trending articles, score updates, or any other dynamic content on your site, your emails will automatically update every time your subscribers open the email with a live scraping tool or data feed’s support—no need to keep sending emails every time something changes.

Bonus 2: Add live video from your event right into new holiday readers’ email experiences. If your subscriber’s browser supports it, they can watch your interactive content right in their message. If not, they’ll see an optimized static image they can click to view on your website.

2. Season static content with 1:1 personalized material

Emails from top retailers often include a mix of general news, like sneak-preview sales announcements, with content based on individual subscriber data from previous web behavior, email activity, or submitted content preferences.

This tactic combines discovery—showing your subscribers something they might not find on their own —with personalized content. And together, these two forces create a feeling of serendipity. The personalization you can offer may not be as obvious as it would be in a transactional email, for example, but it definitely has a more relevant look, feel, and message than a generic news roundup.

You can see this serendipitous mix of static and dynamic content subtly at work in the Food Network’s Recipe of the Day daily email below. Look for modules of dynamic content based on the recipient’s browsing or download history sandwiched between layers of static content.

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 3. Turn new holiday readers into first-time attendees with live calendar reminders

Remember the old days when you had to park yourself in front of your TV at a specific time to watch the latest episode of “Survivor,” “Blue’s Clues” or “Seinfeld?” If you missed it, you were out of luck until the next broadcast.

Today, streaming and live content have just about destroyed this concept. While it’s good to give your audience viewing options, wouldn’t you like to send them a reminder to tune in at a specific time so they can see your shows roll out in real-time?

A live calendar element helps you build engagement for any exciting event: whether that’s a season-opening TV show, movie premiere, book launch, and or special educational webinar. And by making your invite as easy and engaging as possible to act upon, you increase the chances a new holiday reader becomes a first-time event attendee.

Retailers use calendar invites to remind customers about new-product launches, big sales, store openings and other can’t-miss events. Here’s how it looks in a new-collection drop-date announcement from Tommy Hilfiger:

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This year, invite your viewers from the same email you inform them about a new event by introducing “Add to Calendar” buttons and links. That way, subscribers have a one-click process to register for any online experience that’s automatically updated to their calendar app of choice—so when the big day finally arrives, a reminder email can automatically be sent without building, updating, and sending any follow-up messages manually!

4. Count down to the season’s every can’t-miss event

A customized email countdown timer is one of the most versatile retail personalization elements  you can use to inject real-time anticipation for any kind of topic, article, or newsworthy event. Use these simple-yet-sophisticated elements to build excitement before an event—or to let new holiday readers know how much time is left before their first invite expires. 

On its own, this is a popular tactic among retailers to let customers know how much time they have to shop before a juicy offer ends. But for even greater impact, combine your email countdown timers with any of the dynamic personalization tactics we’ve already covered in this blog.

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In this email, Disney combines video and a countdown time to promote its programming for International Friendship Day. Just imagine the urgency and FOMO you can add to any email experience with the simple addition of a timer.

The holidays have arrived earlier than usual this year. It’s weeks before Black Friday, yet retailers are already feeling the usual frenzy of the holiday shopping season.

And if that wasn’t stressful enough, email marketers everywhere are dealing with extra obstacles in Q4:  an onslaught of holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges—not to mention the lack of any end to these problems in sight.

For many retail marketing teams, holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges are posing serious threats for any content or product launches months in the making.  The good news, however, is that we’re all in this together!

So, here are four ways you can use creative email solutions to eliminate customer frustration, sales friction, and negative experiences this holiday season—no matter how many shipping delays and inventory outages your company may face in Q4 and beyond.

Leverage live inventory to save time and satisfy your shoppers

Save your customers, designers, and delivery team from several headaches this holiday season by incorporating live inventory feeds into your email experience. After scraping personalized website content or embedding data feeds that consider recently browsed items, product and brand preferences, purchase history, and more, you’re able to dynamically display the most relevant, engaging promotions across every channel someone interacts with in real-time.

Beyond a more personalized, easy-to-browse shopping experience, leveraging live inventory in your emails means you’ll never need to deal with a broken page link, send a sold out alert, or make a last-minute update to push a different product ever again. Freeing you up to take on bigger, better things than holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges this year.

Drive customer urgency through personalized callouts

Customers want to shop, but may not be ready to buy yet for a number of reasons. While holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges may cause a few unforeseen problems, dedicate your Q4 emails to highlighting the positives to drive customer intent through urgency.

If new inventory arrives, for example, mention that it’s first come, first serve and will go fast. If inventory is running low, use a dynamic data feed to highlight the exact number of hot sellers left in stock in combination with urgency-inducing language to close the sale. Then, you can put the fancy decorations on your customer experience by using back-in-stock and pre-order email campaigns to re-engage any disappointed or dissatisfied customers.

Promote gift cards and in-store shopping this year

When all else fails, promote gift cards and e-gift cards when faced with serious holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges to get more customers back inside your stores. While some may think a gift card is an impersonal email promotion, the reality is a lot of shoppers are uncertain about what they’re going to buy this year. And giving them the option of buying something is always better than not getting a family member, friend, or loved one a gift at all!

You can also send a gift card message with live data feeds and product recommendations to make these messages a little warmer. An embedded email poll is also a fun pairing to highlight the items you do have in stock ready for on-time delivery based on individual customer feedback and preferences submitted.

And if you have physical stores, you can drive shoppers to their closest location using a dynamic map with holiday hours to push store-only offers or gifts with in-store purchase. That way, your loyal holiday shoppers know you’re fully stocked to deliver an exceptional holiday experience.

Set customer expectations by overcommunicating holiday season shipping delays and inventory challenges

Transparency is going to be key to your holiday campaign success in 2021. So, let customers know as early as possible when your standard shipping cutoff dates for holiday shopping are with countdown timers and one-click, add-to-calendar event email elements.

If you want to take personalized experiences to the next level, use dynamic tracking mechanisms in your messages to follow each individual shopper’s order and communicate shipping progress as it happens—all from the same email their purchase was confirmed from so customers have one consistent place to check anytime they need a status update or a deliver is running late.

As an email marketer, you can be forgiven for feeling as if you’re under siege this holiday season.

When you aren’t fighting the age-old battle to stay on your ISP’s good side, there’s the new challenge of balancing the dual demands of data collection and consumer privacy to deal with. And you’re already working overtime to meet your customers’ expectations for personalized email experiences tailored to their unique interests and activity.

Oh, and hit your revenue goals for the year already. Right? 

Seriously though, it’s enough to make you want to hide under your desk. But don’t slide down there just yet. 

Yes, you need to find new and creative ways to keep sending relevant and valuable emails to your customers. And there’s no doubt that Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature makes that job harder for many email marketers. Combined with the coming loss of third-party cookies, the moral of this year’s holiday story is you need to collect (and use) more data-driven email marketing strategies.

But fear not, for good news is only a sleigh delivery away. Because you likely already have a few data-driven email marketing strategies that only need minor tweaks to overcome these obstacles, achieve better results, and elevate your entire brand’s email marketing effort with as little extra work as possible.  

So—whether you’re looking for an easy starting point to advance your personalization or an advanced tactic to be your Q4 gamechanger—make it a priority to try these three proven, data-driven email marketing strategies this season!

Start simple: Encourage engagement through retargeting

Every good email program runs on clean, fresh data. And every smart email marketer knows that the best data is collected directly from your customers. Capturing their brand and product preferences, online browsing behaviors, and overall engagement level and likelihood to purchase are all things you can observe or ask for via direct marketing channels. 

But if you don’t yet have all the data you need yet to power a full-fledged one-to-one personalization plan yet? Just ask for it. Really, it’s that easy.

data-driven email marketing strategies

Embed a one-question poll or survey strategically designed to elicit a key data point from your most loyal shoppers. Then, using this insight, you can create highly relevant retargeting campaigns, audience segments, and follow-up polls that build on each customers’ answers to give you even more enlightening information about what they want from your holiday promotions.

Elevate your data-driven email marketing strategies with personalized reviews and recommendations

This tactic takes a little work to set up, but as long as you have an email platform with the capability you can put social proof on your side and let your customers do your selling for you this holiday season. 

Add a live data feed of customer-generated content such as reviews from your site or third-party sites like BazaarVoice and pair it with relevant products for an unforgettable email shopping experience. This is an excellent tactic to take your browse and cart abandonment emails to the next level, but they can work in promotional campaigns using dynamic content too.

data-driven email marketing strategies

What’s the upside of integrating content and feeds on the back end? More customer engagement on highly relevant messages, more potential for clicks and conversions, and higher revenue from your email marketing. Reviews and recommendations give customers more information, which in turn helps them buy more confidently. It’s a win for everybody at a time where most of us have never needed one more. 

Calling all email experts: It’s (finally) time to increase in-store traffic

The pandemic drove many traditional store shoppers to embrace ecommerce in ways no retailer ever expected. And now, millions are returning to stores—but that doesn’t mean they value your online experience any less. McKinsey expects a “bifurcated” holiday shopping season in 2021, with 60% to 70% of adults researching and shopping both in-store and online.

data-driven email marketing strategies

Returning to stores also brings back the pre-pandemic spectre of long lines at checkout stands and the potential for real-life abandoned carts and shopping sessions. Head this off by adding a graphic showing peak shopping hours at each store, and use dynamic targeting to match each graphic to your customer’s nearest store.

If your customers know when your stores are less busy, they can plan more productive shopping trips. That smooths out the peaks and valleys of foot traffic—which your employees will appreciate because it gives them more time to help customers, stock shelves, and keep stores looking presentable. 

This kind of integration might require a chat with your ESP vendor representative or account manager—but that’s okay. You’ll learn even more about what your platform can do for you! Plus, your rep will have more tips and tactics to help you get even better results from your data-driven email marketing strategies.

Download our new guide for even more data-driven email marketing strategies

These three tactics are just a few of the tried-and-true holiday email strategies that will help you drive more clicks and conversions, a stronger customer experience, and greater revenue. For more fresh ideas and smart email strategies, download our Blueprint for Better Email Results guide and discover how you can do more with less using the data and technology you already have.

What’s scarier than a haunted house on a dark and stormy night? For email marketers, it’s being asked to churn out a last-minute Halloween promotion on the fly.

Don’t let that last-minute request throw you! Because our treat bowl is full of five last-minute Halloween email tactics to help you create maximum engagement—and eerie-sistible experiences—with minimal effort. 

Halloween is bigger and more boo-worthy than ever

This year, Halloween enthusiasm has rebounded to near-2019 levels. The National Retail Federation projects consumers will spend $10.1 billion, or $102.74 per person, on costumes, décor, candy, and food, up more than $2 billion from last year’s figure. 

Fortunately for you, plug-and-play interactive modules and personalized email elements recycled from previously successful campaigns will help you create attention-grabbing experiences in less time than it takes to put on your costume.

As always, begin your email planning with a specific goal for the campaign. Sure, you’ll drive a few extra sales, and that’s always a bonus. But a Halloween email campaign can also reveal data you can use to guide and refine your holiday email marketing content and targeting. 

5 last-minute Halloween email ideas for max engagement

Emails designed specifically for engagement can tell you more about your customers’ preferences, generate fresh, new ideas, and help you collect the zero- and first-party data you need to create even more relevant messaging. So, let’s get started!

1. Click to reveal the deal 

Mystery and Halloween—is there any more perfect combination? An effective email can be as easy as swapping in some Halloween visuals and asking customers to click on the one they like. You can go for fun (favorite candy or costume) or unearth some customer preferences by featuring Halloween-themed merchandise in several categories, but one thing is certain: this tactic is all treat, no tricks.

last-minute Halloween email ideas

Whichever approach you choose, be sure to use unique promo codes and virtual gift unwrapping experiences to make customer acquisition and attribution tasks easier to track and apply automatically.  

2. Suggest last-minute purchases and products

Gift guides are always popular. But this year, with the holiday shopping season and Halloween overlapping and inventory in a precarious position to deal with, your suggestions should reflect real-time order status and live updates to avoid disappointing customers who are ready to buy. If a product sells out, this real-time module can swap in a replacement automatically – no need to pause the campaign and rebuild the email.

3. Promote BOPIS and less spooky fulfillment services 
You’ll never go wrong by helping customers shop quicker and more conveniently. Let time-pressed shoppers know they can celebrate Halloween even if they had to leave preparations to the last minute by highlighting your Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) service.

last-minute Halloween email ideas

You can even include explicit details such as BOPIS locations and instructions for your order-availability notice directly in your emails to give shoppers one place for all the info they need. Just make sure your Halloween email campaigns stress ease of service and alternative fulfillment availability accurately.

4. Offer complementary options to delight every customer

Although Halloween has regained much of the steam it lost last year thanks to lockdowns and public hesitancy about gathering in large groups, not everyone is on board. Recognize this continuing hesitancy with content that refers to both large-group and at-home celebrations to the degree that it’s relevant for your brands. 

5. Give Halloween browsers a second chance to buy

Browse-abandonment emails can prod some shoppers to buy if you send them out right after they break off a session. Now, go back to your browsers who checked out your goods early in the season but never went back to buy and tempt them with an offer—especially if it’s something they browsed before but has gone on sale in the meantime.

Reach out to your previous shoppers with a gentle email reminder, using a dynamic product recommendation if possible, that incorporates each shopper’s browse abandonment history and available inventory. You can thank us for that engagement rate boost later.

Generate clicks, conversions, sales, and more last-minute

With Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and all the other marquee Q4 shopping events right around the corner, Halloween might feel like an afterthought. 

But a carefully designed interaction combined with these five last-minute Halloween email ideas can deliver plenty of value in the days leading up to Halloween, whether your goal is to drive extra sales, clear out inventory, or collect more data you can use to give your customers the best-possible experience.