Triggered emails are an essential component of every successful email marketer’s retail digital strategy. They have the benefit of not landing in the spam or junk folder because they are usually sent when someone interacts with your brand. We take for granted the ‘Welcome Email’ because it seems like a no-brainer but it actually behooves you to send one. According to ReturnPath, people that read at least one welcome message read more than 50% of their messages from the sending brand during the following 180 days.

There are many other types of triggered emails a retailer can send that can have just as much of an impact on your bottom line. In addition to the ‘welcome email’, here are seven others that are sure to turn emails into revenue.

Triggered emails every email marketer should add to their retail digital strategy:

  1. Cart abandonment email
    The average cart abandonment during the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend in 2015, according to Barilliance study, was 72 percent, a 7% increase from the prior year. This is money being left on the table that you can reap if you just send a gentle reminder cart abandonment email. Only 35.2% of the 1,000 largest online retailers in North America follow up with at least one email after a customer abandons an online shopping cart, according to a study from Listrak.
    Retail Digital Strategy Abandoned Cart Triggered Email Example
  2. Post purchase email
    The best types of emails are follow-up emails after a purchase. It keeps the dialogue and engagement going with your consumer. Channel the good feeling they already have after their purchase by asking them to stay in touch or follow your social media channels/blog.  Or, encourage them to leave a review of the item after it has shipped.

    post purchase trigger email
    image source: getelastic.com
  3. ‘X’ Days left email
    Sometimes life gets busy and you need that reminder of how many days left until the sale ends or a countdown to the big holiday. These are welcomed and pleasant reminders for the ever-connected busy individual.
    Retail Digital Strategy X Days Left Triggered Email Example
  4. Price drop email
    Who doesn’t love to know something they’ve been wanting is now on sale?Retail Digital Strategy Price Drop Triggered Email Example
  5. Happy birthday email
    Everyone loves it when someone else recognizes their birthday, even if it’s only to wish them a “Happy Birthday” in an email. You don’t necessarily have to offer a discount, but that’s a nice addition. Simply sending a Happy Birthday message to your customer keeps you hopefully top of mind for the next time they need your product or service. And birthday emails have a 342% higher revenue rate than promotional emails.
    Retail Digital Strategy Birthday Triggered Example
  6. Order and shipment confirmation emails for related or suggested products
    Most retailers (57%, according to Listrak) feature similar or related products in cart abandonment emails and 42% feature them onsite. Yet there are missed opportunities such as: shipping confirmation emails, back-in-stock emails, post-purchase emails and welcome series, to name a few. Try to incorporate recommended personalized products in as many places as possible to increase conversions, such as on order or shipment confirmations.
    Retail Digital Strategy Suggested Items Triggered Email
  7. Receipt emails, a great place to introduce new products and get customer feedback
    These are enticing reminders to get people back to your e-commerce site and to introduce a relevant product or service to them. This order below contained olive oil and some other pantry items from Amazon, and they are offering me to try Prime Fresh for free.
    Receipt emails are also a great place to get feedback.
    Retail Digital Strategy Receipt Feedback Triggered Email Example

Regardless of the trigger, there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate customer feedback, introduce new products, personalize and build relationships, and be top of mind the next time someone needs your product or service. Isn’t it time to up your email marketing game and take your retail digital strategy to the next level?

Retail Digital Strategy with Triggered Email


How To Always Deliver What The Connected Consumer Is Searching For

connected consumer

All retail marketers want to sell more stuff. Whether you’re a brick and mortar making the switch to omnichannel or already a digital retailer, retail marketing has evolved and so has email. The connected consumer expects 1:1 personalized engagement at every digital touch-point (email, mobile, web), and batch-and-blast messaging just won’t cut it. So how do you give your customers the experience they expect, how do you get granular enough to target your customer on an individual basis and where do you even start?

As Steve Jobs used to say, “there must be a better way” and there is. For starters, you really need to rethink your process and how you do things. As a retailer, you can actually send fewer emails, sell more things and as a result, garner a higher ROI by just being more targeted (without using segmentation). Segmentation is what you do in batch and blast marketing emails. Building a framework that encapsulates event triggered messages to your customers is what gets you to that 1:1 personalization that customers crave today. The best part is, you don’t have to upload your purchase data to an ESP to get to this level of individual targeting.

Email pro, Tom Mairs, Lead Global Solutions Specialist at SparkPost, shares his first-hand experience of implementing email for retail innovators like Etsy, Tobi, Ebates, Groupon, and Pinterest. He offers up tips on what you need to look for in a modern email service, and real-world examples of what the most innovative retailers are doing with email today. He also goes through all of your objections on why you think you can’t do it and provides solutions on how to do it.

Watch the webinar replay today and learn:

  • How to deliver direct and relevant content your customers actually want
  • What you are missing with your current and outdated email platform
  • The importance of email as a ubiquitous, real-time channel


  • Tom Mairs, Lead Global Solutions Specialist, SparkPost
  • Adam Blair, Executive Editor, Retail TouchPoints

Watch the webinar replay.

Sell More With Email

personalization retail marketing

Findings from eTail West: Tips to Optimize your Retail Marketing Strategy

Last month, I attended eTail West 2016 to better understand the lives of our retail customers. I wanted to hear their pain points, challenges and the trends driving the industry. My goal, like any Product Manager, is to build products and features that address those pain points and challenges.  And of course, to stay ahead of trends, of which there were several that permeated the conference.

Here are some of my takeaways:

  1. Build experiences. Don’t focus on direct selling and don’t try to compete on price with larger retailers. Instead, build great customer experiences that make customers want to buy from you. Some specific tactics were:
    • Focus your messaging on the “why” and not the “what”. Demonstrate how your product makes the customer’s life better.
    • Reduce friction. Everything from optimizing page load times to integrating PayPal as a payment option. Everything and anything to make it easy – online, in store, and in the app.
    • Use responsive design to optimize the mobile experience. Various speakers had various statistics, but a large percentage of purchases are being either researched and/or conducted on a mobile device. So make sure the site – and the emails you send! — both utilize responsive design to accommodate different mobile devices, screen sizes, and resolutions.
    • Leverage technologies. For example, location information and/or beacons to better serve the customer in the store, smart banners on the mobile site to either open the app (if installed) or encourage app download.
  2. Encourage conversation. The concept of a brand having a conversation with their customer or telling a story isn’t new, yet it’s still very relevant. However, what stood out was the idea of fostering conversations between customers about the brand. So, not just employing social media to promote and amplify the marketing message, but having customers promote and amplify the marketing message on behalf of the brand. For example, a great way to keep those conversations going could be to send emails to your most engaged customers to encourage them to talk about your brand on social media while offering a reward for doing so.
  3. Personalization. There was a lot of chatter about personalization. In walking the exhibit hall, every vendor talked about personalization in some way, shape, or form. Some talked about personalized content, others talked about segmentation and some spoke about analyzing data to drive personalized advertising on their site or via other ad networks.

As I approached each exhibitor I always asked the question, “What do you do and how is it different from everyone else here?” Of course, everyone had their own secret sauce on algorithms they use to do personalization. However, the real question was, how should one use that information? How could they help the retailer make that data actionable?

Here are some pretty compelling tools I found useful for retailers:

  • Iterable: Allows you to increase your revenue and customer engagement with real-time segmentation, automation, personalization, A/B testing and messaging to web-scale audiences. (In the interest of full disclosure, Iterable is a partner of SparkPost.)
  • SmarterHQ: Enables the retailer to make informed product recommendations to site visitors even if they’ve never visited the retailer’s site.
  • Custora: Reduces customer churn, wins back lost customers, and converts one-time buyers into loyal, repeat shoppers.

A lesson from Forrester on why segmenting your list doesn’t cut it.

What really drove the point home was attending the presentation by Forrester’s Brendan Witcher. The quick summary is that segmenting your visitors or customers into groups doesn’t cut it because with any segment, the content you send to any specific individual is still likely to be wrong most of the time. The goal is to send EACH person the content that is right for them, at any stage of their journey, whether they’re first-time browsers, repeat visitors or long-time customers.  This is individualization. You do this through contextual data, third party data (where has that visitor been before coming to your site), and of course, your own visitor and purchase information.

Batch and blast can be costly and inefficient.

This mode of thinking requires a re-think of how you work with your ESP. Today, many marketers are still sending a batch email, collecting the data, doing the analysis, deciding on what to send next and then developing a new message based on those findings. Lather, rinse, repeat. This cycle is too slow to engage your customers, and site visitors who may have moved on to a competitive product by then. It’s also expensive. Every time you develop a new template – it’s hours of someone’s time you’re paying for – either employee, contractors, or outside agencies.

There’s a better way!

Decide on your most important lifecycle journeys, develop the messages that nurture your visitors and customers on that journey, and then trigger those messages in real time. Content can be personalized in real time. Not only is each message more relevant and more likely to serve up the correct content for each individual, but your email development costs are likely to fall since you won’t be developing a new creative template for every send. As you learn more about your customer journeys, you can refine the business rules that drive them, and develop new templates. Companies like Iterable, BoomTrain, and the ones mentioned above can do the heavy lifting on the personalization (what to send and to whom) while SparkPost handles the delivery to make sure the message goes in real time — and lands in the inbox.

How will I be incorporating what I’ve learned in the days, weeks, and months ahead? By researching all of the great companies I talked to (or whose swag I brought home), and determining which partners deliver on these themes for our customers.

Which companies would you recommend to drive personalization?

–Irina, Cloud Queen