As you’ve probably noticed, retail emails continue to get better-with better targeted content, more enticing design and irresistible offers. As a retail marketer, this means the competition is getting tough. To captivate your audience, you have to do more than play by the rules-you have to make the rules. When it comes to email marketing customers love, innovation is key.
To help you blitz the competition, and earn more loyal customers, check out these four fire-hot retail email trends.
1. Weather-Based Geo-Targeting
In the drive to create more personalized consumer experiences, innovative retailers like Walmart and Duane Reade know that if you can measure it, you can target it. Take the weather, for example; no longer the bane of uncomfortable cocktail party conversations, the local weather has become the star of several recent hyper-targeted email campaigns.
As reported by Supermarket News, Walmart has partnered with The Weather Company to create a series of email promotions. With the campaign, customers might see Gatorade ads when temperatures hit 90 degrees, or Campbell’s soup ads when temps drop below 40 degrees.
Meanwhile, Duane Reade and Claritin have teamed up with Poncho, a personalized weather alert service. On days when pollen forecasts run high, Poncho subscribers receive emails from Duane Reade with Claritin coupons (redeemable only at their stores, of course).
2. Countdown Clocks
There has recently been an explosion of options for adding countdown clocks to your emails, from developing your own clock in-house to leveraging application firms like MotionMail for an inexpensive, ready-to-use solution.
These highly visual elements encourage consumers to engage with your emails-plus bonus points for making sure they instantly know how much time they have before your sweet offer is gone forever.
3. Social Media Contests
Looking to expand your reach on social media? An email-gated contest is one of the best tools around. For example, Social Media Examiner points to a fashion retailer that might want to build its base of followers on Instagram. The contest might involve consumers posting pictures on Instagram of themselves wearing the retailer’s clothes, with the best picture winning a small but enticing prize. To enter the contest, participants must provide their email address and must follow the retailer on Instagram.
It’s a win-win-win situation: One lucky customer gets a great prize, and the retailer not only builds a fan base, it gains tons of user-generated content as well-allowing the retailer to deliver an even better experience across all channels. What’s not to love?
4. HTML/CSS Code
Email can be transformed from a cost center to a profit center, simply by removing obstacles and empowering your customers to buy. In today’s world of instant gratification, time-strapped consumers have no patience for being required to jump through hoops just to buy what they want. But if you make shopping easy and visually exciting? Well, that’s a whole different story.
Take this recent email from home goods retailer B&Q. With one of the most creative uses of HTML/CSS code we’ve seen yet, B&Q built a carousel of clickable images directly into their email.
Even better, the email is fully mobile-responsive and includes fallback programming if the viewer’s email client doesn’t support the HTML functionality.
Ultimately, though, winning the game of email marketing isn’t just about trying out the latest gimmicks-it’s about building an experience that puts the customer at the center of everything. With the right perspective, everything you do (and every innovative, creative twist you add) serves a tightly targeted purpose: to make it as easy and enticing as possible to buy from you. Keep this focus in mind, and your marketing ROI will grow naturally.