Category Archives: Retail

Retailers create new email marketing strategies with cloud computing, SaaS

Retailers create new email marketing strategies with cloud computing, SaaS

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.

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Attract millennials with a few key email marketing tactics.

Millennials pose challenges for holiday emails

A growing number of companies are using their business email lists to target millennials. This group of young consumers and professionals has grabbed media attention, and many businesses are trying to attract what's in their pocketbooks.

Because of millennials' level of tech-savvy – they did grow up with computers and the Internet at their fingertips – firms are constantly needing to evolve how they speak to young professionals through targeted email content and a range of devices to see the biggest benefits from this shopping group come the holiday months.

Recent research from Campaigner outlined the three hurdles email marketers will face with this demographic come November and December, ClickZ reported. These include getting them to open email, ensuring they engage with communications and sharing information via social media networks. So, what can organizations do?

Especially as millennials are unlikely to share discounts, coupons or other email deals on their Facebook pages or Twitter accounts, the study urged businesses to get creative. For example, many members of this age group will be directed to a website and fill up a proverbial shopping cart with items they would like to purchase, but then leave it at the last minute.

"An easy win from first timers is shopping cart abandonment emails," Seamas Egan, corporate sales manager for Campaigner, told Click Z. "They are simple to set up and have an excellent [return on investment]. Also, if you have yet to invest in developing responsive design emails for your marketing campaigns, you should [do it] ASAP."

And don't put this off until the beginning of November. According to Marketing Pilgrim, despite still being weeks out from Halloween, retailers and other organizations are already ramping up their holiday deals, discounts and marketing strategies.

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Ecommerce retailers need to bring a 'singular focus' to email messages.

Optimizing ecommerce emails to make the most of contact lists

Writing the perfect business email can be difficult, especially for ecommerce companies. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, online shops can't hope to grab revenue from passersby, so in many ways, email is the prime way they bring in business. How can you create a dynamic ecommerce email?

Finding your message                                          
A big mistake many online stores make is  trying to cram too much information into one email. Considering the fact that ecommerce operations are likely to send out more than one communication ever, there's no need to fill individual messages to the brim. Instead, Practical Ecommerce suggested that marketers find a "singular focus" for every message, which is especially important during the holiday season when inboxes become slammed with offers, discounts and news from across the Internet.

According to the news source, emails that showcase a "singular focus" tend to feature one call to action, one category or one item per email rather than advertising many different sales at once.

These messages can be aided by the use of images and graphics, which Practical Ecommerce claimed can perhaps communicate brand or product information better than words. 

"Notice that leading online retailers – from Amazon and Walmart to the Gap and Zappos – all use large and attractive graphics in their email marketing campaigns," the news provider wrote. "These are companies that spend a significant amount of time and money optimizing, and they all use great graphics."

Knowing your customers                                   
That said, seeing success with narrowly focused messages means really understanding the members of your email marketing list. If you don't take their needs and desires into account, you could end up promoting an item or sale that is virtually meaningless to them. Accurate targeting can reduce bounce rates, spam reports and unsubscribes, Practical Ecommerce writes.

Targeting customers isn't all about content – it also requires ecommerce marketers to meet consumers where they shop, which increasingly is on their mobile devices. In fact, a recent article from Forbes asserted that instead of first creating an email marketing campaign for desktop devices and then optimizing it for smartphones and tablets, retailers should put mobile first. Giving consumers the opportunity to shop from wherever they happen to be offers ecommerce players an opportunity to increase revenue over the long term, especially as this trend appears to be a new normal.

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Brand email marketing messages to gain more clicks.

Boost email marketing list open rates by crafting a story

Email continues to be the digital channel of choice through which businesses of all sizes communicate with their customers. While savvy marketers know the first step to success is acquiring a targeted email distribution list, there are a number of factors in play that influence whether companies make the most of their business emails.

Sharing is caring    
Online messages are a critical channel for allowing consumers to stay informed and up-to-date with what is happening at a company. Be it special events, new developments or even surprise sales, businesses want to subtly persuade readers to learn more about or even purchase a specific item.

One of the key ways to accomplish this is through “clicks,” which occur when a recipient follows a link provided in an email that takes them to the company’s website or another targeted external location. Business​ 2 Community wrote, “Email marketers love clicks,” citing a survey by iContact that found clicks are the top metric used to determine a campaign’s overall success, as it can increase website traffic, produce leads from each visit and result in sales.

Make your recipients fans   
Another tactic often suggested to email marketers is to make sure their communications tell a story. According to ClickZ, this can even be done over time – just consider the example of clothing ecommerce site Bluefly, which used a multi-story arc to improve clicks.

To increase engagement, Bluefly produced a series called “The Traveling Handbag,” which asked for recipients to look through photos of fashion bloggers showing off the same bag and vote for their favorite one, thereby getting a chance to win the product for themselves, the news source explained.

“Because the galleries were rolled out over time, users had added incentive for making repeat visits to Bluefly.com,” ClickZ wrote. “This approach also provided the brand with enough content and creative to justify multiple mailings.”

Consistency is key
Companies will also want to make sure their messaging is in the same tone across marketing platforms. They shouldn’t present a casual, fun tone on social media and then switch to a very dry, professional style for their email communications. This might not only confuse recipients, but it will also disrupt a business’ attempts at creating a unique identity that is easily recognizable for patrons and also helps the brand to stand out from their competitors.

By applying these strategies, firms can help make sure their email contact lists make the right impression.