Email Personalisation Tips for Overcoming Winter Blues
Guest Contributer / February 15, 2016

This is a guest post written by Lottie Coltman of Nosto, one of our partners for Magento projects.

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January is a strange time in the ecommerce industry. Reeling from the highs of December, ecommerce merchants are forced to discount everything but the kitchen sink in order to prevent steep revenue drops. Which is why some may be breathing a collective sigh now that the calendar has finally turned. But don’t break out the champagne just yet...

Nosto’s data has shown that it is February that could be doing the most damage to your bottom line this quarter. With people having already emptied their bank accounts for Black Friday, Christmas and then the January sales, this month sees the lowest revenue for the whole year (almost 20% less than average). Tempting people back to your store then becomes not only a priority but the biggest hurdle to a successful Q1.

Be Prepared

But less of the problem and more of the solution. The good news is that one of the after-effects of the craziness of the holiday season is that you (hopefully) have a large number of new customers. Not only does this mean you should be financially richer but also sitting on a wealth of new data too. Namely, email addresses that can now be used to tempt even the most hesitant of shoppers back to your store.

When surveyed however, 52% of people said that they felt overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive on a daily basis- something that is hardly surprising considering over half of all emails received are of a promotional nature. That is a lot of noise to cut through. So, before you send off an email blast, turning off potential buyers before you’ve even started, you need to figure out how do you are going to stand out from the crowd.

Make it Personal

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Personalisation can add an extra layer of interest to your communications. ‘The cocktail party effect’ states that people are more likely to subconsciously tune into a conversation in a crowded room if they hear their own name mentioned. The same applies to email- with consumers far more likely to read an email that is targeted at them directly. In fact, at Nosto, we have seen our personalised triggered emails have an average click-through rate 10x higher than the industry standard.

That said, nothing is going to make your email an overnight success if you aren’t adhering to some basic rules. Newsletters for example should look good, be interesting for your customers, and, as a general rule, only spend 20-30% of the time selling your company directly. Only then should tactics such as personalisation be applied.

Personalisation is a broad term which can refer to a number of different tailoring tactics,all of which will have varying levels of effectiveness. We imagine that most of you are on board with the basics of email personalisation - for example, the use of tagging to automatically insert a recipient's name into either the subject line or copy of an the email. These small touches may seem insignificant but are effective and should be implemented into your email marketing as standard.

Thinking Outside the Box

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For those of you are looking for a more sophisticated level of personalisation in your email marketing, dynamic product recommendations that are geared towards the individual may be the answer. This effectively creates a communication that is specific to every individual, offering them items from your inventory that take into account their previous browsing and buying behaviour, a techniques that has seen up to 20% increase in conversion when applied to email.

There are four approaches you can take here-

  1. Browsing history reminders: Sometimes a recommendation can be as simple prompting someone to pick up where they left off. People are busy, sometimes they see things they like, plan to come back and never make it. By using your emails communications to give them a gentle reminder of the pieces they left behind you make it easy for them to complete their purchase.
  2. Personalised recommendations: Personalised recommendation are similar to browsing history reminders but are weighted according to other indicators of interest, such as how often an item was visited or whether it was held in the cart. This allows you to prioritise those items that are most likely to convert.
  3. Browsing history related recommendations: This type of recommendation goes one step further by suggesting relevant but alternatives item, based on those pieces that a shopper showed an interest in (but excluding the original items). This is useful in helping shoppers discover items that are in line with their taste when the original items were, for whatever reason, not quite the right fit.
  4. Top Lists: Of course, if someone leaves an email address with you without exploring your site there are times when you will be left without enough data to properly personalise the email (other than with the aforementioned name tagging). In this case a good alternative is to use the space to highlight top lists. By promoting the best-sellers & top-trending you’re showcasing what’s hot in your store right now, reflecting current trends and maximising your chances of conversion.

So, maybe February doesn’t have to be the weak link in your Q1 after all. Instead let’s make it the month of lovingly tailored communications. And we don’t just mean a Valentine’s cards for your partner - although don’t forget those either...

Email personalisation is, of course, just one of many tactics you could employ to stop February becoming a profit blackhole and the downfall of your first quarter. To find out more about the other possible solutions download Nosto’s Ultimate Ecommerce Q1 Survival Guide. Click the image below for Nosto's ecommerce survival guide:

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