Retail companies help people find the products they love. And they’ve done so for decades. What has changed, however, is how consumers shop. With the increasing popularity of ecommerce, it’s getting harder and harder to maintain direct relationships with your buyers outside the store.
Any time buyer behavior changes, many retail brands must piece together a variety of third-party data points before they’re able to identify, interpret, and take advantage of the shift. Making long-term customer loyalty a moving — and shrinking — target for marketing teams that lack the ability to personalize cross-channel interactions.
Personalization Pays Off
The lack of a personal relationship with your brand makes it difficult to grow loyalty and keep shoppers engaged long-term. And that’s a huge challenge to overcome since 62% of today’s consumers consider personalization an important part of their shopping experience.
But acquiring and retaining lifetime buyers doesn’t require a massive investment or a complex customer loyalty program on your part. Something as simple as a personalized email experience can help you:
- Establish a direct line of communication with your shoppers
- Collect and use first-party data insights strategically
- Increase customer retention rates and the effectiveness of cross-selling opportunities
- Increase overall market share and CLTV
- Elevate your brand’s buyer perception
- Convert customers into brand evangelists
So, let’s explore six Retail Personalization Index-leading retailers and the small email personalization tactics they’re using to deliver huge loyalty gains. Because who has time for hypothetical examples or what-if scenarios with everything else on your plate?
Inspire Daily Engagement Like Best Buy Does
When it comes to personalization, there’s perhaps no better brand than Best Buy. Between a loyalty program that boasts more than 40 million of members, a superior website shopping experience, and an early adopter mindset that’s made it stand out as a leader in curbside pickup and mobile customer experiences throughout the pandemic, this retailer comes in at number three on the 2021 Retail Personalization Index.
But it’s the little things that separate Best Buy from everybody else in the industry. By segmenting an email list of its most highly engaged shoppers — whether they’re loyalty program members or not — this brand uses simple personalization strategies to create a customized ‘Deal of the Day’ send. Keeping potential customers engaged and coming back for more as their relationship with the brand increases in value across every new interaction.
Email subscribers are even given the option to opt into text message notifications of these daily deals, making this experience as convenient and easily consumable as possible for the end user.
Increase Interactivity Like Office Depot OfficeMax
Office Depot OfficeMax is growing customer loyalty while simultaneously increasing online sales by 20% YOY. How? By prioritizing one thing over everything else: an enjoyable, personalized email shopping experience. And by delivering on this promise during a time that needed as much positive news and fun as possible, this retail leader is building lifelong buyer relationships one customized mystery offer at a time.
While these communications serve the same fundamental purpose as a new sale announcement or discount offer, Office Depot OfficeMax isn’t interested in any run-of-the-mill promotion. Instead, it delivers every recipient an interactive experience that encourages maximum engagement to reveal a surprise discount, product offer, etc. through a captivating CTA.
Value Your Customers Like The Vitamin Shoppe
2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic pushed The Vitamin Shoppe to forge new partnerships and make unexpected pivots. But that wasn’t the first time this year’s #20 Retail Personalization Index brand made changes to put the customer first. And with emails like the one featured below, we’re certain it’s not the last, either.
User-generated content can be a powerful marketing tool when used properly. After all, 72% of today’s retail customers won’t make a purchase until they’ve read through buyer-sourced product reviews. So, using this knowledge The Vitamin Shoppe took the sales pitch out of some promo emails entirely by replacing its usual messaging with trending stories and website content instead.
Spotlights featuring shoppers’ pictures, quotes, product faves, recommendations, ratings, and more take the impact of these sends to another level. By including content that’s personalized to every potential buyer’s preferences and interests, readers receive a dynamic experience that always features fresh, new, and relevant offers. That way, The Vitamin Shoppe can stay focused on making the products that sell themselves. Or, more accurately, that other customers are happy to sell for them.
Don’t Sell Products, Solve Problems Like Petco
The past year has taught everyone the value of family. And that includes pets, too. So when in-store services like grooming and dog training became impossible to offer during lockdown, Petco pivoted its email strategy to focus on digital offerings, expanded pickup options, and a reinvigorated rewards program to optimize the brand’s consumer-centric approach.
By using email to connect with customers and check in on pet parents’ well-being throughout the pandemic, Petco elevated its brand and fostered a more personal relationship with its rewards program members — instantly improving its online engagement and customer retention rates.
After introducing readers to the early warning signs of stress and anxiety in their dog, for example, Petco positioned its products as the solution to a family’s most important (pet) problems rather than simply sending loyal shoppers another sales pitch. And this slight shift is already delivering massive ROI. Not to mention customer peace of mind that makes buyers feel heard and understood, too.
Give Customers a Cause Like World Market
Now more than ever, your company values matter to customers. Consumers aren’t satisfied with the best deal on your best products — they want to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves.
After all, there are a dozen different competitors for every retailer. The ones that set themselves apart and inspire lifelong customer loyalty are the ones that make their values known. That way, buyers can support the sellers that align closely with their own personal values — ensuring the money they spend is doing just as much good for the world as they are.
One brand using this trend to effectively grow brand engagement and loyalty through email is World Market. By aligning product recommendations to products that donate a portion of their earnings to charitable causes and organizations, World Market has transformed its typical promotions into inspiring calls to action that motivate its most loyal customers to make additional purchases and engage with the company’s email experience.
Be a Part of the Conversation Like Pottery Barn
Robust email personalization has helped Pottery Barn connect with shoppers and create more direct relationships all over the world. But often, the brand’s most effective emails are the ones that take a conversational approach. After considering individual product preferences and segmenting audiences by their unique interests, Pottery Barn delivers product recommendations in one of the most engaging formats available: an expert Q&A column.
In doing so, the brand takes personalized product suggestions a step further by pairing them with actionable advice and relevant, related offers to offer buyers the most possible value with every purchase. Making this email experience truly one of a kind when it comes to growing long-term shopper loyalty.