At Boxed, Automating Personalization That Feels Real

As any online marketer knows, there is fraud. That happens when a customer claims an item ordered is missing. How to cover one's tush? Take a photo of the box before it's sealed. Problem solved.

But at Boxed, which delivers products without membership fees, it calls the photo, which it includes in an email to customers, a "selfie." "It's the first piece of communication they get from us," said Angela Ko, Sr. Manager, CRM & Retention, Boxed. Her favorite response so far is the customer who said she laughed so hard, "my cat ran out of the room." Ko says the brand is taking email to the next level with the selfies, "drawing out an emotional response."

That is just one way Boxed personalizes its marketing. Every packer in its warehouse (grown from a crowded two-car garage in 2013) includes a handwritten thank-you card, which Ko says is so important when there is no face-to-face experience.

Yet another opportunity she cited is the "oops moment" when the company makes a mistake. They got so much customer love from their follow-up that half of impacted customers placed another order within 20 days.

She offered two takeaways:

1. Attention to detail on a more human level makes customers feel valued.

2. Make every communication personal to get that emotional connection.

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