When Enterprise Work Management surveyed 2,000 white-collar professionals in 2017, the project management software company found that the average person’s inbox has 199 unread or unopened emails. How many of those do you think are generic promotional emails from retailers?

That’s a rhetorical question, but the likely answer is still comfortably above zero. The most surefire way for a retailer to cut through the clutter is personalization. And as fashion retailer JustFab understands, that starts with the subject line.

“In general, a subject line that has some element of personalization, whether that’s a first name or a product, whatever it may be, will have about an 18% higher open rate than one that would not,” according to Cassie Young, Marigold Engage by Sailthru’s Chief Commercial Officer. “If you start looking at that in terms of specific product recommendations, that number will jump up to 40%.”

Last week at eTail West, Cassie spoke on a panel, “Opening Email, Closing the Sale With Perfect Personalization,” alongside Janet Bingham, Email Marketing Manager, Brand Marketing, at Zazzle; Dave Maxson, Senior Director of Decision Sciences at Avery Products Corporation, and Erin Vitero, CRM Manager at JustFab.

How JustFab Personalizes Email Communications From Day One

Email falls under Erin’s purview at JustFab, where personalization is part of the brand’s DNA. Whether you’re a frequent or first-time shopper, you can guarantee that email communications will be tailored to you.

“If you go on our website and sign up for a new account, you’re going to take a style quiz. Then you’re going to be dropped into one of five persona buckets,” says Erin. “We use that to personalize the products that you see on site, to what you see on email.”

The early persona buckets are a great starting point for personalized marketing. That evolves as a customer becomes more engaged with the brand.

For example, one thing JustFab eventually learns about a customer is her favorite product category. “The new trend is leopard print” would be a subject line for a general trend email. But if someone shops shoes more than any other categories, she’ll see something along the lines of “Shoes in leopard print.”

Erin points out that category-led subject line personalization resulted in more opens and a 19% increase in revenue per email sent.

Warm Welcomes and Custom Cadences

Another area where personalization factors into JustFab’s email marketing is cadence. Consider the welcome stream. Emails are less sales-oriented and contain more content, which serves to educate new customers about the brand.

“I think last year, we found out within the first 30 days, our customers were getting way more than 30 emails. They received several per day, so we made a very conscious effort to pull back,” says Erin. “In addition, we also rolled out our new VIP welcome drip series. It also involves removing these people who were new to the brand from our regular marketing emails. Before, they were getting some of our onboarding emails and then they were being bombarded by marketing emails immediately.”

Communicating less frequently with new members didn’t negatively impact revenue. In fact, JustFab experienced a 5% decrease in attrition. Cassie points out in addition to increasing engagement, personalizing message cadence is a great use for data science.

“If you look at each individual’s historical engagement with emails, onsite activity and purchases, you can come up with a propensity score for how likely someone is to unsubscribe,” she says. “On the cadence side, I think it really comes down that the individual and maximizing for each individual’s lifetime value and what works for them.”