How Under Armour, Ulta and Target Master Holiday Triggered Messages

During the holiday season, the average consumer receives 23% more email from retailers. That makes standing out in the inbox all the more difficult, though Nordstrom, Ulta and Under Armour managed to do so during the most critical time: Cyber Weekend. How? Personalization, of course.

Triggered messages, email sent in direct response to specific customer actions, represent one of the best ways to incorporate personalization into email marketing. And since triggered messages account for 77% of email ROI, they’re especially important during the busy holiday season. From welcome to winback messages, see how retailers nailed different triggered messages between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday:

Under Armour: Welcome Series

With strong onboarding, retailers can turn their welcome mats into red carpets, introducing their brands and setting the foundation for a long, profitable relationship. However, as the holiday season brings an influx of new shoppers to retailers’ websites, it’s important to understand the difference between new signups and new post-purchase signups. The latter group may have converted already, but that’s not to say they’re already familiar with your brand’s offerings.

Many retailers combine their welcome and post-purchase communications, but Under Armour distinguishes between the two segments beautifully. Customers receive an order confirmation with tracking information and a link to the brand’s help center. Under Armour also sends a separate welcome series. The sportswear retailer emphasizes its values — “Under Armour makes you better” — and fosters further engagement by linking to its app, content and social media profiles. And of course, Under Armour also incentivizes the second purchase with a promo code for free shipping.

Nordstrom: Cart Abandonment

Whether the catalyst is a shipping fee or not being ready to purchase yet, most online shopping carts sit abandoned. The good news is, reminders raise revenue. According to Moosend research, cart abandonment emails have an average open rate of 45% and conversion rate of 10.7%.

Cart abandonment messages are crucial during the holidays, when people are more inclined to shop around as they look for deals. Nordstrom understands this and sent abandonment messages during Cyber Weekend. The retailer included images to jog the customer’s mind, deep links to make purchasing seamless, and the steep discounts to make purchasing more attractive. While the jacket wasn’t on sale, Nordstrom made sure to include recommendations for similar jackets that were marked down.

Best Buy: Post-Purchase Messaging

Good post-purchase emails thank the customer for their purchase. Great ones, like this email from Best Buy do so much more. Best Buy does so thank you and deep links to the order summary with all the shipping information. This Amazon Echo purchase came with complimentary subscriptions to Pandora and SiriusXM… and easy instructions on how to access these services.

Post-purchase streams are all about encouraging that next purchase and building brand loyalty down the line. Best Buy gets the customer thinking about the next purchase by using collaborative filtering to recommend complementary items, such as Amazon’s Smart Plug and Echo Show. Follow-up emails about order status — “Your package is arriving earlier than expected,” for one — promote loyalty, as they demonstrate how Best Buy looks out for customers, even after the sale has been made. (Xfinity Home, Comcast’s home security service, found that 30% of Americans have experienced package theft, which spikes during the holiday season.)

Ulta: Winback Emails

According to Email Monks research, email lists degrade by 25% each year. While retailers can send use winback messaging can re-engage lapsed customers, many of them don’t. Even among the top 25 most proficient personalizers on Sailthru’s third annual Retail Personalization Index, just 20% send winback messages.

Fourth-place Ulta is one of them, using the holidays as a hook. This Cyber Monday email had the subject line, “We miss you! Come back & take 20% off 😍,” a graphic that’s both festive and on-brand, and a barcode for those customers who prefer to shop in-store. Ulta also featured best sellers, a great recommendation type for converting those customers you don’t know that well yet. Best of all, this winback message was part of a series. Ulta later followed up with an email that was nearly identical, minus the subject line — “Your 20% off waits 😍” — which served as a great reminder.

Target: Proactive Triggers

One trait the four most common triggered messages share is, they’re all reactive. Retailers can also stay one step ahead with proactive triggers. Common examples include back-in-stock notifications and birthday wishes with discounts.

Per the National Retail Federation’s annual shopper survey, 70% of consumers cite sales and discounts as the most important factors when choosing where to do their holiday shopping. Capitalizing on Cyber Weekend’s deal-sensitive environment, Target sent this price alert email that’s like browse abandonment with a twist. When we visit retailers’ sites, they know what we browse. Rather than follow this customer around the Internet with retargeting ads for Google Homes, Target cut to the chase and let him know the item had been marked down since his browsing session. In case $49 was still too steep, Target also added recommendations for similar items. The Google Nest Hub, for example, comes with a free mini version of the Home.

This is just a taste. Download Sailthru’s 2019 Holiday Marketing Playbook for more tips on recalibrating your recommendations strategy, the new table stakes, how to discount and segment strategically, and more!

Sailthru's 2019 Holiday Marketing Playbook

There’s plenty of time before “the holidays,” right? Not exactly. Holiday sales are perpetually on the rise, while consumers are starting their shopping earlier and earlier. This means retailers must get a head start before the holidays, especially since the most wonderful time of the year is also the most lucrative.

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