Retailers are adapting to a changing landscape by implementing creative new email marketing solutions and strategies to ensure that their messages are reaching customers.
Google's introduction of the new tab system to Gmail recently dealt a blow to retailers. The new system files promotional emails in a separate tab from the primary inbox – a strategy that has proven problematic for some in the industry, The New York Times reported.
"My guess would be that you might log on to your Gmail 20 times a day, and look at promotions once a week," complained Chief Executive Ada Polla of skin products brand Alchimie Forever, according to the news source.
If assumptions like Polla's prove true as the effects of the Gmail tab system become clearer, marketers may begin to reconsider how best to ensure potential customers respond positively to promotional emails.
Some firms have already begun that effort by drawing on cutting-edge cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technologies. Ascena Retail Group recently partnered with cloud-based marketing solutions provider Responsys, according to Biz Report. The retailer used the tech firm's Interact Marketing Cloud to create profiles for customers in its email database that included richer data and allowed them to create personalized messages and promotions. As a result of the initiative, open rates increased by 70 percent, click-through rates by 55 percent, and overall conversion rates by a stunning 225 percent, the news source wrote.
Software startups with retail marketing specifically in mind are also beginning to make waves. According to Tech Crunch, the young SaaS company Swirl Networks, Inc., has developed a software that notifies consumers of promotions based on where they are located in the store by sending push notifications to their smartphones.
Solutions like Swirl's can be used alongside email marketing to create the kind of memorable experience that can make the customer more receptive when he or she receives a digital promotion.
Other companies are focusing on ways to help marketers interpret and use data. Venture Beat reported that analytics provider TellApart recently acquired AdStack, an email marketing solutions company. The partnership will combine the precision analytics of the AdStack software with TellApart's customer-targeting technology that has already helped retailers like Brookstone, Warby Parker and Neiman Marcus.
As technology and data analytics improve, companies can be confident that they have tools at their disposal to make sure they're creating real customers from their email marketing lists.