How Club Monaco is Getting Email Marketing Right
With so many touchpoints in today’s customer journey, email remains at the center of many retail marketers’ digital strategies — and with good reason. Email has long been the workhorse of marketing, delivering a 4,400 percent return on investment, or $44 for every $1 spent, according to Campaign Monitor. Even with new channels sprouting up, email is tried and true when it comes to generating revenue.
The trouble with email, however, is that many organizations still struggle to measure the overall health of their email programs. We recently partnered with Coherent Path to analyze over 100 of the top internet retailers to measure email’s effectiveness by looking at measurable aspects of an email program. We determined these core areas to be email frequency, catalog exposure and email content. We then acquired every email a retailer sent to a generic user over a specific period of time to score each retailer across the three categories and across verticals.
And the Winner is …
Each retailer was given a score of one to 100 based on criteria such as email frequency, breadth of product catalog exposed, a shoppable menu at the top of the email, overall email length, subject lines, mobile optimization and more. The top-scoring retailer in our evaluation was Club Monaco with a total score of 79.9. The one area where Club Monaco really shined was email frequency, scoring 32.4 of a 33.3 possible points. As most marketers know, the average number of emails sent per day is a highly contentious number within retail, as brands must balance the need to continuously engage their audiences and drive sales against sending too many emails and driving valuable customers away.
Club Monaco’s frequency of approximately one email per day for generic users seems to be table stakes for communicating with consumers. In our evaluation, too many retailers appeared to be relying heavily on sending too many emails rather than making sure the one per day they do send really counts.
However, making your one email count with an unknown subscriber is no easy task. After all, you have very little information on their tastes, preferences and past behavior. This is where catalog exposure can play an important role, and where Club Monaco once again scored higher than most other retailers evaluated. Try exposing as many parts of your catalog in your emails to see what types of products pique a generic user’s interest.
Room for Improvement
It was eye-opening to see that none of the retailers, including Club Monaco, scored above the equivalent of a C+ grade — especially since email is such an important revenue generator. A few areas where retailers could easily improve their generic emails include not relying too heavily on promotions and discounts; keeping emails to two scrolls — focus on the most important products and information in each email; and stop using click-bait subject lines such as “You’ll Love This” that have nothing to do with the email content.
Of course, once you start gathering data, you can start to build a profile on the once-generic user, tailoring content and exposing parts of your catalog that will convert opens to clicks and clicks to buys. Exposing more of your catalog instead of relying on rudimentary email personalization tactics such as “Customers Also Bought” or “You May Also Like” is an important way to make sure an email is relevant to a shopper, even if the main content doesn't directly appeal to them. In situations of an unknown shopper, this is especially important. The more product categories exposed, the more opportunity for finding categories that appeal to them.
While email remains one of the most reliable tools in a retailer’s arsenal, competition for attention within the inbox is fierce. It’s crucial that marketers understand how their email program is performing compared to other retail brands that are all competing for the same user’s attention and wallet share, and, more importantly, how to maximize it. Understanding where your email program is hitting the mark and where there’s room for improvement is the first step in strategically exploiting this massive asset.
Nikki Baird is managing partner at Retail Systems Research, an industry market intelligence firm specializing in the impact of technology on the extended retail industry.
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