Shoppable Emails: A New Opportunity For Brands To Drive Engagement

March 18, 2021

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Shoppable marketing is becoming the essesntial for brands who want to make it as easy as possible for their customers to purchase their products, email marketing is to be no different...

Email marketing has traditionally yielded the highest rates of return of any advertising channel. But as commerce has shifted online, and the technology driving sales and marketing strategies has grown ever more sophisticated, email campaigns have taken a backseat. One of the main reasons was the difficulty of navigating from email account to checkout, a process which the Associated Press reported as taking 2 minutes. At one point or another during this fatal lag, the AP reported that 70% of prospective shoppers abandoned their carts and baskets.

Google has recently attempted to reverse the shift away from email marketing. Gmail is in fact so successful (with 1.5 billion users globally) that American lawmakers have begun antitrust proceedings to curtail the dominance the Alphabet Company wields over internet users. And if the tech giant could find a way to bring email marketing to the forefront of eCommerce, they could leverage Gmail’s dominance, and strike a powerful blow against Amazon in the hyper-competitive digital advertising war zone.

To this end, they recently announced that they have teamed up with technology company Skipify to bring shoppable ads to Gmail. Customers will now be able to access real-time information about product availability, and use functional shopping carts within the marketing emails they receive. The partnership will enable frictionless purchasing from any inbox, anywhere. The early results have been promising. Merchants who have participated in the program are already reporting that their email revenues have increased by over 30%, while unsubscribe rates have been cut in half, according to Yahoo! Finance. It may feel like you’re experiencing deja vu, but email marketing is about to have a bright future, all over again.

How Your Brand Can Take Advantage

It has been decades since Gary Thuerk, a Marketing Manager at Digital Equipment Corp, sent the first group email soliciting sales in 1978, earning himself the moniker “The Godfather of Spam.” As email marketing techniques improved, the medium became increasingly lucrative. One 2015 study from the DMA found that every dollar spent on email marketing yielded an average return of $38 in ROI. 

But as we enter the 43rd year of the spam era, consumer fatigue with marketing emails is real, and it’s difficult to overcome. Many brands ramped up their email campaigns during the pandemic, presuming that the limitations on mobility and in-store shopping would lead us to live and shop on our devices to an unprecedented extent. But success in 2020 will lead to a marketplace saturated with email messages 2021 as marketers double down on the strategy. In order to stand out in this crowded field your brand will need to find strategies that differentiate your messaging from the piles of spam crowding inboxes.

Shoppability will play a huge part in this mission. Rather than pushing unsolicited information in front of the eyeballs of weary consumers, you can weaponize shoppable emails to offer value by reaching out with the right offer at the right moment. Segmentation and increased adoption of AI are the trends that every email marketing expert agrees will have the biggest impacts on the market in 2021. As analysts at Forbes concluded, this year there will “be more tools behind the scenes that use AI to optimize campaign performance, drive more dynamic email personalization or make decisions on email content based on consumer behavior data.”

AI can inform you when your current customers are likely to replenish a product, and allow you to target them with offers that will make it economical and convenient to use your preferred eCommerce platform. It can also let you build a personalized profile of individual consumers, deepening your relationships and building loyalty. It can also tell you what approaches are working with new additions to your mailing list, allowing you to invest in the strategies that are working in customer acquisition and eliminate annoying, unwanted, and ineffective spamming.

One study by Janrain & Blue found that 96% of respondents reported that they had received mistargeted emails. 71% said they’d received an offer that “clearly shows they do not know who I am.” 51% got conflicting information over various channels of communication, and 41% said emails exhibited mistakes on “basic personal information about me.” And shoppers HATE misguided emails. When they receive them, 68% automatically hit delete, 54% unsubscribe, 45% label them as junk or spam, 29% say they become less willing to buy products, and 10% vow to never visit your website again! 

By getting serious about personalization and segmentation, you can avoid these off-putting mistakes. While today’s consumer is rightly concerned about privacy and data collection, and might be taken aback to see personal information about themselves in a marketing email, there are work-arounds available. One of the easiest ways to avoid creeping out your audience is to implement segmentation based on purchasing history. It’s less creepy than more personal information, and won’t give shoppers the feeling that you’ve been stalking them across the web. It gives you an easy way to reach consumers who might need to replenish a previous purchase, or are in the market for another similar product. It’s a way to say “we know you’ve bought pet food before” instead of “we’ve been watching you, and we know you’re running low on Rover’s puppy chow.”

It’s Time To Get To Work!  

The pandemic fuelled massive email marketing growth in 2020, and shoppable links and videos are a terrific opportunity for brands to engage with consumers and drive growth in 2021. Shoppable messages allowing immediate purchases are likely to be a hit. They are also a huge opportunity for brands looking to build their own sales platforms and steer their customers and eCommerce models away from complete reliance on Amazon. Building a direct relationship with your shoppers via their inbox is a crucial route to taking back control, and ensuring that your audience remains loyal and engaged. If your business is looking for shoppable marketing solutions, get in touch with Adimo today!

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