Retail shopping

Despite the importance of personalized shopping experiences being deeply researched and recorded, brands and retailers continue to lag in deploying customized marketing campaigns. A report released by Coherent Path, “How 100 of the Top Retailers Engage Shoppers in the First 45 Days and Beyond,” breaks down which merchants are leading the charge — and which ones are failing.

“Personalization has gained so much momentum over the past few years, it was surprising to see how little differentiation there was in the e-mails sent to an actual customer and someone who has never made a purchase,” said James Glover, founder and chief executive officer of Coherent Path. “Retailers work hard to acquire new customers, and this evaluation shows that most are missing the mark in nurturing those new relationships by treating them the same way they treat non-purchasers.”

Coherent Path worked in tandem with MailCharts to decipher how leading brands and retailers in the fashion apparel, health and beauty, big box, department store, home goods and furnishing, and sporting good categories compare in their various e-mail marketing strategies. To do this, the firms purchased products from 100 of the top retailers and analyzed e-mails received over a 45-day period. This was then evaluated to how non-purchasers were engaged by e-mail outreach.

“One of the most shocking findings in the evaluation is that retailers are not personalizing their purchaser e-mails. In fact, 62 percent of the time, retailers sent the exact same e-mail on the same day to the purchaser and non-purchaser, and only 26 percent of all e-mails were unique to the purchaser, despite having click-stream and purchase data to leverage,” a Coherent Path spokesman said.

Of all verticals, Wayfair secured the top position — mainly due to its highly personalized e-mails. According to the research, 71 percent of all e-mails were unique to the recipient. “Fifty percent of their e-mails contain categories in the subject line and 54 percent of e-mails have a subject line that matches the e-mail content. When it comes to frequency, Wayfair doesn’t bombard shoppers with e-mails; in fact, they only send more than one e-mail a day 17 percent of the time,” the spokesman said.

Levi’s led the charge in purchaser experience, the research found. According to the report, 75 percent of e-mails sent during a 45-day period were customized to the purchaser. What’s more, only 8 percent of e-mails sent on the same day matched non-purchaser e-mails. The denim company also avoided discount language by 75 percent to purchasers, compared to those sent to non-purchasers. This signals that Levi’s is deploying enriched marketing strategies to convert recent shoppers to repeat spenders, whilst non-purchaser e-mails are focused on getting them in the door with sales.

The research also confirmed that most retailers are sending too many messages. According to the report, Victoria’s Secret, Pottery Barn and the Shopping Channel all had the highest daily average e-mail sends. Conversely, Free People earned a perfect score for sending on average around one e-mail per day.

And though brands are mainly still trying to find a happy medium to attract new consumers while resonating with existing ones, their mobile strategies do appear to be improving, the report said.

“Thirty-seven percent of all e-mails were optimized for mobile versus 17 percent in the last evaluation. Sixteen retailers [16 percent] had a perfect score and optimized their e-mails for mobile 100 percent of the time, an increase from just three percent in the last evaluation,” the report said. “While this is encouraging to see, 63 percent of e-mails are not being properly optimized for the channel seeing the biggest usage gains in digital commerce. Discount or promotional language was used in 39 percent of all e-mails, compared to 43 percent in the previous evaluation.”

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Social Media’s Evolving Role in Retail: Commerce, Product Testing

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