Thanks to the powerful algorithms of Netflix, Amazon and others, consumers have extremely high standards for personalization in their shopping experience. They expect that brands will know exactly what they want and offer it to them at just the right moment when they need it most.
In fact, nearly three-fourths of consumers won’t engage with marketing content unless it’s customized to their interests. This puts retailers under immense pressure to deliver this personalized experience with tools that aren’t up to the task. And in many cases, they risk annoying customers as a result.
It’s a common scenario: You finally find the perfect new black dress and make the purchase. For days afterward, you’re inundated with ads for black dresses. But, you’ve already bought one. Why would you want another? Are those ads relevant? Technically, but they’re not terribly useful.
The smarter solution would be to suggest related products, right? Like a sleek new pair of shoes or a trendy handbag to go with the dress? The problem is most ad personalization algorithms can’t distinguish between the two. Retailers need a way to dive deeper into customer behavior, to deliver truly relevant and useful marketing messages to customers.
Here are three ways email can help.
1. Insert dynamic ad blocks into transactional emails.
By integrating point-of-sale solutions, inventory management and user profiles with your email marketing system, retailers can drop related product “ads” into order confirmation, shipping notification and other transactional emails.
Because you know what they’ve bought, you can suggest appropriate companion products, and because the recommendations are personalized, customers are more likely to click on those products in that format than they would on purely marketing emails.
2. Use email data to personalize partner ads on your website.
Perhaps you don’t sell the shoes or a handbag to go with that black dress on your site, but you can partner with another retailer that does.
By leveraging the data you have on subscribers’ interests and dropping relevant ads into your product pages (as Target does) that match those interests, you can give customers a personalized experience and add a new revenue stream.
3. Advertise in email newsletters.
Publishers who use content curation platforms to distribute email newsletters have a tremendous wealth of data on their subscribers and know how to precisely personalize the content to suit their interests. Advertising within these e-newsletters is an extremely effective way to deliver personalized product recommendations in front of this highly engaged and active audience.
The best way to do this is to get onboard with an email ad network that offers this technology to publishers. Adding your brand into the network allows you to tap into a wide range of publishers serving a broad audience, all of whom receive precision-personalized content.
As personalizing the customer experience becomes more critical, and yet simultaneously more difficult due to privacy concerns and the demise of third-party cookies, retailers must get innovative in order to deliver on consumers’ expectations.
While it might seem “old school,” email actually provides an outstanding opportunity to use a trusted, reliable medium to reach target audiences with precisely personalized offers across a wide range of interests and publishing genres. Tapping into email as a personalization platform can give retailers the tools they need to deliver dynamic, relevant and useful personalized content shoppers expect with an efficient, trustworthy channel.
Jeff Kupietzky is CEO of PowerInbox.