October 2, 2018
If you are reading this, the holidays are here. Like last year, expect every day in November to generate $1 billion in online sales. Email is a big piece of this billion-dollar pie. Last year, email drove 20% of website traffic during the seasons and accounted for nearly 25% of sales on Cyber Monday. While retailers prepare for the long holiday season, they often neglect some of the nuances that go into creating engaging and conversion-focused emails. With so much on the line, don’t let this happen to you. Here are four ways to create more engaging and effective holiday emails
1. Showcase Your Differentiators
During the season, discounts are widely available, and Amazon, which accounted for 50% of all online holiday sales in 2017, continues to grow. The question is: Why should someone choose to shop with you? This is where finding—and exploiting—your competitive advantages is so critical. If you offer customer-first service policies, be sure to make them widely visible inside of your emails. These might include extended return policies, satisfaction guarantees, price guarantees, free returns, complimentary gift wrapping, and direct contact info.
These value-adds can help overcome obstacles to purchase. Remember, some customers will be seasonal shoppers. They may need this reminder more than anyone. Just don’t forget to include these in other high-converting messages, such as shopping cart abandonment messages.
2. Include the Right Incentive
I mentioned that discounts are everywhere this time of year. I know it. You know it. Your competitor knows it. If you are a brand who discounts you need to strategically think through ways to do so that protects margins, maintains email engagement, and keeps you competitive. Last season, a few discounting trends emerged, most notably category-specific sales, free gifts, and in-store exclusive discounts. Tiered discounts continued to remain a popular tactic in addition to the three mentioned. Can these incentives offer you some guidance?
Offering a free gift(s) with purchases, maybe even combined with a tier, can accomplish this. A retailer will know the cost of the free product, which may be offset by the better-protected purchase margins. Category sales may encourage users to purchase full-price, or less discounted items, during the same shopping trip that the deeper discount incited. Offering sales on different categories can also peak curiosity that keeps users checking in on their emails as the season moves along.
3. Location-based Info
If you have brick-and-mortar stores you should insert a content block pointing to their nearest local store. This is important for a variety of reasons. First, it allows you to promote in-store exclusive promotions, a trend from last year. Offering in-store exclusive promotions, such as additional discounts, store-only discounts, or free gifts with purchase can be great ways to drive foot traffic. Why is that so important? Studies continue to show that in-store shoppers have a higher AOV than online shoppers.
Second, if you offer buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS), this should be promoted inside of your emails. This can be a great value-add for consumers. It allows them immediacy to their purchases, and gives a competitive differentiator to shopping online elsewhere, such as on Amazon. Retail Touchpoints reported that 65% of customers made additional purchases when they pick up their orders in-store. This all equates to extra sales!
4. Product Recommendations
While it may be gift-giving season, many people give to themselves. In fact, it is reported that 25% of holiday purchases are self-gifts. Yes, sending gift-guides and reinforcing gift-giving is important. But it does not mean you should ignore the email recipient. After all, engaging this person through the email noise is essential.
Using intuitive, personalized product recommendations in both email and on your website can be just the trick. Inspiring customers to shop for themselves while shopping for others can be a great way to increase their AOV and provide a more personalized experience—something consumers expect today.
Don’t stop with your promotional messages. Use recommendations in most other messages, such as order and shipping confirmations, cart and browse abandonment, post-purchase, welcome, and other automated messages that make sense.
It’s Only The Beginning
You can use the above content to deliver relevant and personalized emails, but if they are not optimized for mobile, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Last year, 46% of all holiday website traffic came from smartphones, and 33% of all online holiday revenue was from mobile devices. Making sure your emails mobile-friendly is essential.
eCommerce for this year’s holiday season is expected to grow 15%. With email being a key component of that growth, it is imperative to look at your emails and make sure each one is clear, concise, mobile-friendly and provides you the greatest chance of success. Ultimately, focusing on your customers, the value-adds you offer, and how you meet their expectations will determine how successful your email marketing program will be this holiday season. Happy holidays!
About Greg Zakowicz and Oracle Bronto
Greg Zakowicz is a Senior Commerce Marketing Analyst at Oracle Bronto, a leading cloud-based commerce marketing automation platform provider. Oracle Bronto arms high-growth retailers with sophisticated marketing automation to maximize revenue opportunities. The Bronto Marketing Platform powers personalized multichannel content that generates the higher engagement needed for retail success. Keenly focused on the commerce marketer, Bronto continues its longstanding tradition as a leading email marketing provider to the global Internet Retailer Top 1000 and boasts a client roster of leading brands. For more information, visit bronto.com. Follow us on Twitter @Bronto.