To Drive Holiday Sales, Email Marketers Must Focus on Personalization
As the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, retailers must pursue the highest standard of personalization for their email marketing campaigns in order to stand out from the competition.
The holidays are a wonderful time of year — a time when many people celebrate friends, family, faith, and of course, finding deals. This Thanksgiving weekend, more than 174 million Americans got a head start on their holiday shopping. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average consumer spent $335.47 over the five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, $250.78 of which went toward gifts.
But as the rising prominence of Cyber Monday indicates, the retail landscape is in the middle of a dramatic shift. The NRF found that more people (58.4 million) shopped exclusively online over the holiday weekend than exclusively in brick-and-mortar stores (51.6 million).
Based on this fact, Adobe Analytics forecasted that the 2017 holiday season would be the first during which online sales would surpass $100 billion. More specifically, once the final figures are in, Adobe predicts that online sales will total $107.4 billion, which represents a sizeable 13.8% increase over last year’s $94.4 billion sum. Compared to the modest 3.8% year-over-year growth predicted for the holiday retail industry as a whole, this spike is quite impressive — and serves as a serious warning to brick-and-mortar outfits.
In order to appeal to the 31% of consumers who are planning to spend more online this year than last, retailers must make an effort to provide engaging, comprehensive brand experiences anchored by highly-personalized email marketing touchpoints.
Driving Sales through Personalization
Email marketing has proven to be a highly reliable outreach channel for retailers, especially during the holiday season.
According to Adobe, email drove a substantial portion of online sales last holiday season, including 17.8% of all online sales on Black Friday 2016 and 19.9% of all online sales on Cyber Monday 2016, which Adobe says was almost certainly the best email marketing day of the entire year.
But ensuring that one’s own marketing emails are among the one in five that the average consumer actually opens is easier said than done. Radicati reports that American consumers collectively receive 88.2 billion emails every day, which means it’s incredibly easy for a company’s messages to get lost in the noise. This is why email personalization is absolutely essential.
Research suggests that personalized marketing emails have 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click-through rates than standardized emails. A personalized subject line alone increases a marketing email’s open rate from the 21% baseline to higher than 26%.
What’s more, email personalization has been shown to drive good outcomes beyond immediate conversions. According to one poll, 44% of consumers say they are likely to become a repeat customer following a personalized experience and 39% say that personalization inspires them to share their experience with their friends and family. Well-informed product recommendations can also be powerful, as 63% of Millennials report having made an impulsive purchase after receiving a recommendation tailored to their unique taste.
How to Achieve 1:1 Messaging
While most retailers have gotten wise to the value of personalization, there remains a significant disconnect between what retailers think they’re doing and what consumers are actually experiencing.
“Nearly 90% of organizations say they are focused on personalizing customer experiences,” says Brendan Witcher, a principal analyst at Forrester, “yet only 40% of shoppers say that information they get from retailers is relevant to their tastes and interests.”
Ultimately, this stems from the harsh reality that true marketing personalization is difficult. Thousands upon thousands of data points drawn from dozens of marketing channels must be collected, organized, and analyzed before a marketer is able to get any real insight into what each given consumer segment really wants. As the volume of data — both relevant and “noisy” — continues to expand, it will become increasingly difficult for marketers to deliver truly personalized brand experiences on their own.
Fortunately, artificial intelligence marketing platforms like Albert™ are designed to help marketers overcome these obstacles to personalization. Albert breaks down the silos that often isolate a retailer’s various sources of data and uses this panoramic perspective to pilot thousands of micro-campaigns at once, ensuring that consumers receive as close to 1:1 messaging as possible.
To learn more about how Albert™ has helped a wide variety of retailers boost the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, please visit our Client Success page.
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