Is Your Retail Marketing Email Campaign Driving Your Customers Crazy?

retail marketing email

A targeted retail marketing email campaign is a great way to bring customers into your store and build customer loyalty for your retail business. But are your retail marketing emails having the opposite effect from what you intended? If you’re sending emails too often, a recent survey cautions, you could be driving customers away.

Retail Marketing Email Bombards Us

The average consumer subscribes to 2.3 retailer email lists, according to First Insight, which polled consumers about their email habits. But even with that small amount of subscriptions, the average consumer gets 13.1 emails per week from those retailers. And some consumers (6 percent) get a stunning 40 emails per week from retailers. Now, I love a good sale as much as the next shopper, but even I think that’s too much!

How many retail marketing emails is too many? While just 21 percent of consumers who get five retail emails a week think that’s “too many,” two-thirds of those who get six or more retail emails a week say that’s too many.

When you send daily email to customers, you’re bound to experience diminishing returns. In fact, consumers in the survey say they open just one in four retail emails that they receive. No wonder, since respondents say 95 percent of retail emails they get are “not at all relevant” to their needs and interests.

More than eight out of 10 survey respondents say the plethora of irrelevant emails is a sign that the retailers they patronize don’t really understand them. As a result, nearly half say that they’ve unsubscribed from a retail email list within the past six months.

Is Your Retail Marketing Email Campaign Driving Your Customers Crazy?

Retail Marketing Email Best Practices

So what do customers want from your retail marketing emails? Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Limit the number of emails. More than six out of 10 consumers surveyed say their favorite retailers send just one or two emails per week. When your emails are infrequent, they’re more likely to be perceived as special and will get more attention.
  • Personalize your emails and offers. Use data you collect about shoppers’ past purchasing behavior to create customized offers aligned with products they have purchased in the past. For example, if a customer consistently buys children’s books from your bookstore, send them emails about children’s books — not about self-help or spirituality. There are retail loyalty apps you can use that collect information about customers’ purchases, or you can go the low-tech route and offer customers different email subscriptions to choose from. For instance, you could offer customers the choice of getting emails about specific product categories, in-store events, or general special offers (there may be some customers who like getting every single email your store has to send, so give them that option.)
  • Avoid sending generalized emails. Four out of 10 survey respondents say they would go out of their way to buy from a retail store that doesn’t send them irrelevant email offers. Sending an email that just promotes a sale at your store without personalizing it to customers’ interests is today’s equivalent of taking out a print ad in every publication you can think of. Just as with print advertising, you’ll get better results from narrowly targeted emails.

Sending targeted and timely retail marketing email remains one of the most effective ways to drive retail traffic — but only if you use them wisely to show customers you understand them.

Is Your Retail Marketing Email Campaign Driving Your Customers Crazy?

Enhancing Retail Email Marketing with Automation

In today’s competitive retail landscape, automation can be a game-changer for your email marketing efforts. Here’s how automation can take your retail email campaigns to the next level:

  • Personalized Product Recommendations: Automation tools can analyze customer browsing and purchase history to suggest relevant products. By sending personalized recommendations, you can increase cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery: When a customer adds items to their cart but doesn’t complete the purchase, automated emails can remind them and offer incentives like discounts or free shipping to encourage conversion.
  • Segmentation and Targeting: Automation allows you to segment your email list based on various criteria such as purchase history, location, or browsing behavior. This enables you to send highly targeted emails that resonate with specific customer segments.
  • Behavioral Triggers: Set up triggers based on specific customer actions, such as a first-time purchase or frequent visits to your website. Automated emails can then nurture these leads with relevant content and offers.
  • Drip Campaigns: Create automated drip campaigns that send a series of emails over time, guiding customers through the sales funnel. Drip campaigns are particularly effective for nurturing leads and turning them into loyal customers.
  • Customer Feedback and Surveys: Use automation to gather valuable feedback from customers through surveys and feedback forms. This information can help you improve your products, services, and overall customer experience.
  • Event-Based Emails: Send automated emails to customers on special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, offering them exclusive discounts or rewards. This shows your appreciation and encourages repeat business.
  • A/B Testing: Automation platforms often include A/B testing features, allowing you to experiment with different subject lines, content, and CTAs to optimize email performance.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Automation tools provide detailed analytics on email open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and more. Use these insights to refine your email strategies continually.
  • Time Optimization: Determine the best times to send emails to your audience by analyzing open and engagement patterns. Automation can schedule emails to maximize their impact.
Personalized Product RecommendationsUse automation to analyze customer behavior and suggest relevant products, increasing cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
Abandoned Cart RecoveryAutomated emails remind customers about abandoned carts and offer incentives like discounts or free shipping to encourage conversion.
Segmentation and TargetingAutomate list segmentation based on criteria like purchase history or browsing behavior, allowing for highly targeted email campaigns.
Behavioral TriggersSet up triggers for specific customer actions (e.g., first-time purchases) and nurture leads with automated emails containing relevant content and offers.
Drip CampaignsCreate automated drip campaigns that guide customers through the sales funnel over time, particularly effective for lead nurturing.
Customer Feedback and SurveysUse automation to collect valuable customer feedback through surveys, helping improve products, services, and the overall customer experience.
Event-Based EmailsSend automated emails on special occasions (e.g., birthdays) with exclusive discounts or rewards to show appreciation and encourage repeat business.
A/B TestingAutomation platforms often include A/B testing features to experiment with different email elements for optimization.
Analytics and ReportingAccess detailed analytics on email performance (open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, etc.) to refine email strategies continually.
Time OptimizationDetermine optimal email send times through automation by analyzing open and engagement patterns, allowing for scheduled emails for maximum impact.

Is Your Retail Marketing Email Campaign Driving Your Customers Crazy?

The Power of Personalization in Retail Email Marketing

Personalization is the secret sauce that can elevate your retail email marketing strategy to new heights. Here’s why it matters and how to leverage it effectively:

  • Tailored Recommendations: Personalization enables you to recommend products based on each customer’s browsing and purchase history. When customers receive emails showcasing items they’re genuinely interested in, they’re more likely to click through and make a purchase.
  • Dynamic Content: With personalization, you can dynamically customize email content for each recipient. This means you can display different products, images, and messaging depending on the recipient’s preferences and behaviors.
  • Behavioral Triggers: Use personalization to set up automated triggers based on specific actions. For instance, if a customer frequently browses women’s shoes on your website, an automated email can showcase the latest arrivals in that category.
  • Personalized Subject Lines: Beyond just addressing recipients by their names, craft subject lines that speak directly to their interests or recent interactions. A subject line that says, “Discover Exclusive Deals on Your Favorite Tech Gadgets” is more compelling than a generic one.
  • Segmentation and Targeting: Divide your email list into segments based on demographics, location, purchase history, and more. This allows you to tailor your emails to specific audience segments, increasing relevancy.
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery: Personalize your abandoned cart emails by showing the exact items left behind, along with persuasive messages or incentives to complete the purchase.
  • Customer Lifecycle Messaging: Send personalized emails at different stages of the customer journey. For new subscribers, welcome emails with special offers can make a strong first impression. For loyal customers, express gratitude and offer exclusive rewards.
  • Localization: If you have physical stores in multiple locations, use personalization to send emails relevant to each store’s local audience. Promote in-store events, offers, or inventory based on the recipient’s proximity to a particular store.
  • Preference Centers: Allow customers to specify their email preferences. Some may want to hear about sales, while others prefer new product launches or educational content. Letting customers choose ensures they receive content aligned with their interests.
  • Feedback and Engagement: Encourage customers to provide feedback and engage with your emails. Ask for product reviews, conduct surveys, or invite them to share their experiences. Use this data to refine your personalization strategies.
Personalization ElementDescription
Tailored RecommendationsLeverage personalization to recommend products based on each customer's browsing and purchase history, increasing click-through and purchase likelihood.
Dynamic ContentCustomize email content dynamically for each recipient, displaying different products, images, and messaging based on preferences and behaviors.
Behavioral TriggersUse personalization for automated triggers tied to specific actions, such as showcasing relevant arrivals for customers frequently browsing a specific category.
Personalized Subject LinesCraft subject lines that speak directly to recipients' interests or recent interactions, enhancing email relevance and engagement.
Segmentation and TargetingDivide your email list into segments based on various criteria, allowing tailored emails for specific audience segments, ultimately boosting relevancy.
Abandoned Cart RecoveryPersonalize abandoned cart emails by displaying abandoned items and offering persuasive messages or incentives to complete the purchase.
Customer Lifecycle MessagingSend personalized emails at different customer journey stages, welcoming new subscribers with special offers and expressing gratitude to loyal customers with exclusive rewards.
LocalizationPersonalize emails for physical store locations by promoting events, offers, or inventory relevant to the recipient's proximity to a specific store.
Preference CentersAllow customers to specify email preferences, ensuring they receive content aligned with their interests, whether it's sales, new products, or educational material.
Feedback and EngagementEncourage customer feedback and engagement by requesting product reviews, conducting surveys, and inviting them to share experiences, refining personalization strategies with the data.

Is Your Retail Marketing Email Campaign Driving Your Customers Crazy?

Mobile Optimization for Retail Email Marketing

In today’s digital age, mobile devices play a significant role in consumers’ lives, and this includes their email habits. To maximize the effectiveness of your retail email marketing, it’s crucial to optimize your emails for mobile devices. Here’s why and how to do it:

Why Mobile Optimization Matters:

  1. Mobile Dominance: A substantial portion of email opens occurs on mobile devices. If your emails aren’t mobile-friendly, you risk losing engagement from a significant portion of your audience.
  2. User Experience: Mobile users have different expectations and behaviors compared to desktop users. Optimized emails provide a seamless and enjoyable experience, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
  3. Email Accessibility: Mobile optimization ensures that your emails are accessible to all recipients, including those with disabilities. This inclusivity is not only ethically sound but also aligns with legal requirements in some regions.

Mobile Optimization Best Practices:

  • Responsive Design: Create emails with responsive design, meaning they automatically adapt to various screen sizes and orientations. This ensures that your content looks great on both smartphones and tablets.
  • Single-Column Layout: Consider using a single-column layout for mobile emails. It simplifies the reading experience and makes it easier for users to scroll through your content.
  • Readable Fonts and Text: Use legible fonts and maintain a reasonable font size for mobile devices. Avoid tiny text or overcrowded paragraphs that may be challenging to read on smaller screens.
  • Mobile-Friendly Images: Optimize images for mobile by using appropriate dimensions and compressing files to reduce load times. Also, include alt text for images to convey meaning to recipients who rely on screen readers.
  • Clickable Buttons and Links: Ensure that buttons and links are large enough to tap easily on touchscreen devices. Spacing them adequately helps prevent accidental clicks.
  • Condensed Content: Keep email content concise and to the point. Use compelling headings and brief, scannable paragraphs. Consider using collapsible sections to allow users to expand content if they wish.
  • Minimalistic Design: Avoid cluttered designs with excessive elements that may overwhelm mobile users. Simplicity and clarity are key.
  • Subject Line Preview: Craft engaging subject lines that provide a glimpse of the email’s content. Mobile users often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line.
  • Testing and Preview: Use email marketing tools to preview how your emails will appear on different mobile devices and email clients. Conduct thorough testing to identify and resolve any issues.
  • Loading Speed: Optimize your email’s loading speed. Slow-loading emails frustrate users and may lead to higher bounce rates.

Emails Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.