Halloween is still over a month away, but the winter holiday season is already in full swing for retail marketers.
The importance of email marketing for retailers during the holiday season is paramount, helping to drive as much as a fifth of online sales transactions in 2016, according to an Adobe Digital Insights report. There does remain, however, a potentially untapped email resource: wish lists.
Retailers that give subscribers the opportunity to set up and save their own wish lists, as well as retailers that allow subscribers to share their wish lists with others, are in a strong position to utilize this information to push a customer further along toward a purchase.
Similar to abandoned cart emails, wish list email reminders also see a significant uptick in engagement and conversion rates. Triggered emails about wish lists sent during the 2016 holiday season boosted transaction rates and revenue-per-email 20% higher than abandoned cart emails sent during the same period, according to Cheetah Digital’s Q2 2017 Email Benchmark Report.
Abandoned shopping cart notifications may be the most common type of marketing automation, but those products might not be the most relevant to the end-consumer year round. Shopping carts during the holidays likely hold items that consumers are buying for other people, while a wish list may provide a better idea of what the consumers wants for themselves.
“Brands are becoming more savvy with the wish list functionality,” says Justin Orgel, strategic services director at Cheetah Digital -- previously known as Experian Marketing Suite, a cross-channel marketing solutions provider headquartered in New York City.
Orgel sees wish lists being used in three key ways, he says.
The first is where wish lists are primarily used as a utility, such as Amazon’s wish list functionality. The second is in vertical use cases such as bridal, baby, or back-to-school registries. These types of wish lists are still quasi-utilitarian with a retail component, but used in more niche situations.
The third level of wish lists offer luxury experiences focused on customer service, says Orgel. He says social platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are valid tools for wish list building, describing how marketers can capture that information and use it across different channels. Since email is one of the most common online identifiers, marketers can use it to unify online, mobile, and social behavior.
For example, Cheetah Digital customer Michael Kors incorporated email wish lists into a social media campaign. The fashion brand highlighted a consortium of curated products that it featured on Instagram. Each time a fan like liked something on Instagram, they were sent an email with specific product details.
Orgel says these email had incredibly high conversion rates due to their relevancy -- the emails were displaying products in real-time that customers had just expressed interest in.
“Email doesn’t need to just be a web-to-email experience,” says Orgel. “It can originate in social media or mobile as well.”
Another example is Net-A-Porter, a luxury fashion shopping app. The mobile app will send a push notification and an email to customers warning them if items they have starred are about to be sold out in their size.