How eCommerce Email Merchandising Wins Customers

by Jetlore

A general theme in many of our blog posts is the importance of merchandising eCommerce email campaigns. Proper merchandising can facilitate lifts in multiple email marketing metrics,  especially sales and revenue. One of the best examples of the results that email merchandising can provide comes from, an eCommerce website that focuses on merchandise for law enforcement and first responders.

In a presentation at the 2014 International Retailers Conference and Exhibition (IRCE), Marvin Toller, business analyst for Galls, presented the findings from over four years of data detailing a number of statistics proving the efficacy of email merchandising.

Shifting from Flyers to Merchandised Email

Prior to the shift towards merchandising, Galls email campaigns amounted to flyers that focused on sales and discount codes and featured little to no merchandise. During this time, only 10% of Galls email subscribers would actually engage with the email campaigns in any given month, leaving 90% completely unengaged with their promotional email efforts.

From 2010 to 2014, they made a complete overhaul of their email marketing program by redesigning their email template to feature an assortment of merchandise, employing personalization technology to tailor merchandise to each user, and slowly increasing the number of featured products in emails to as many as 30. In order to merchandise their email newsletters, Galls employed a product recommender and used multiple data points to determine which specific items to include in their email campaigns. Data points included:

  • Price range
  • Discounts
  • Money spent over customer lifetime and money spent in the last 60 days
  • Last open date and last click date
  • Category preferences
  • Brand preferences
  • Products viewed
  • Products purchased

Over the course of four years as Galls changed their email format from a flyer style to a merchandised format, their email sales as a percent of total web sales went from 7% to over 24% (10x absolute emails sales growth) and their subscriber engagement went from 10% to over 75%.

As Galls pointed out in their presentation, with a proper template, it is beneficial to feature as many as 30 items in a single email as long as they are selected with the most current data available and have an appropriate level of relevancy to your customers.

Jetlore’s first-hand experience with merchandising email campaigns

Like Galls, Jetlore customers experience similar lifts in email sales and engagement once they start featuring merchandise in their email campaigns. One of Jetlore’s most recent customers, Mobly, Brazil’s premier online retailer of furniture and home decor accessories, have recently added 6 featured products to their mostly flyer-like email campaigns promoting discounts and coupon codes. Within just 2 months and with only 6 featured products per each email newsletter, Mobly has seen over 20% lift in email sales resulting from both conversion and average order size uplifts. It was achieved with just a small change to the email template and zero maintenance effort on Mobly’s end. It was a purely efficiency gain due to higher relevance and engagement with no increase to the number of emails received by the users.

Benefits of algorithmic merchandising

Even with the incredible results that Galls has seen with merchandised email, they admit some limitations and “pain points” including:

  • Lack of self-learning personalization
  • Danger of repeating products
  • Need for more resources: extended template requires more design time and creative product selection strategies

These pain points can, in large part, be attributed to merchandising emails through non-algorithmic means. Jetlore directly addresses these pain points by:

  • Leveraging user’s prior purchases and real-time behavior in the form of product views and email clicks to maximize product personalization to each individual user
  • Automated sync-up with your online inventory and incorporation of real-time inventory performance to detect seasonal trends
  • Real-time performance optimization after the campaign goes live to eliminate poorly performing products and prioritize best performers
  • Automated tracking of each product email impression to avoid repetitiveness
  • Deduplication of semantically similar products in the same email
  • Simple integration with the existing email service providers to automate creation and maintenance of merchandised email campaigns

For email newsletters, proper merchandising isn’t simply a design issue. It’s a matter of giving your customers what they want most. Merchandising email campaigns allows your customers to browse products and make purchasing decisions right from their email. It not only increases sales by reducing the number of steps required to discover a relevant product and make a purchase but also increases subscriber engagement delivering to your customers what they want most. This is the way to transform your email marketing program from a low conversion shot in the dark into a thriving revenue channel.

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