How Savvy Retailers Use Behavior-Based Personalization to Stand Out in the Inbox | Sponsored Content

This post was contributed and sponsored by Sailthru.


At more than 40 years old, email marketing is still the marketing channel with the highest ROI—especially when it's personalized. Among the many emails that enter inboxes each day, it’s no surprise that triggered messages, sent in response to specific consumer behaviors, account for 77% of email ROI, according to the Data & Marketing Association.

Every year, personalized marketing automation technology provider Sailthru analyzes 250 retailers’ shopping experiences and ranks them based on personalization prowess. The 2019 Retail Personalization Index shows that the retailers with the best email personalization are generally those with strong lifecycle-centric email marketing programs. Here are some areas of personalization to consider:

The Importance of a Warm, Personalized Welcome

Welcome emails have a significantly higher open rate than other marketing messages, and the brands that performed best in the Retail Personalization Index know how to capitalize on them. While 86% of the 250 brands Sailthru evaluated send a welcome email after someone signs up, just 18% of them include personalized content in those messages. This content could be anything from a first name to products viewed, and it’s a major indicator of personalization proficiency. The Retail Personalization Index’s top 25 retailers excel at these tailored first impressions—of this group, 96% personalize their welcome emails.

Capitalizing on Cart Abandonment

The overwhelming majority of online shopping carts are abandoned, so cart abandonment messaging is a must for retailers. However, only 50% of the 250 brands send cart abandonment messages, and even fewer capitalize on them. Just 24% of retailers include additional personalized recommendations in their cart abandonment messaging. Yet the top retailers are excelling here, too. Eighty-four-percent of the top 25 send cart abandonment messages and 68% use them to recommend other items.

The Missed Opportunity of Win-Back Messaging

Win-back messaging is a great way for retailers to re-engage subscribers who aren’t opening or clicking through emails as frequently as they used to. Brands can simply remind people what they’re missing out on, offer a preference center to give customers control over email cadence, or even provide a win-back discount. Most retailers don’t employ these strategies, making win-back messaging a major missed opportunity. Even among the top 25 brands, a mere 20% use email marketing to re-engage lapsed customers.

Are You Appreciative?

Since consumers largely prefer to receive branded communications in their inboxes, email marketing is perfect for promoting products. However, this doesn’t mean retailers should be selling all the time. Email is also a great place to show your customers you appreciate them. Of all 250 brands analyzed in Sailthru’s 2019 Retail Personalization Index, just 34% inquire about purchase satisfaction among customers. And retailers’ approaches to birthday messaging are highly varied—40% of the top 25 retailers send their customers birthday emails, compared with 6.21% of the bottom brands. All strong relationships maintain a balance of give and take, and customer relationships shouldn’t be any different.

Who were the top performers and what else set them apart? Click here to learn more about Sailthru’s Retail Personalization Index, including how you can use personalization to stand out in the inbox.