A Great example of Omni channel retail

Most of the big consultancies are already publishing reports on omni channel retail and it’s benefits (but really they’re still just talking about e-commerce). Omni channel retail seems to be the new holy grail. I’ve only seen a few real cases of it being implemented though. This article about the Macy’s approach to technology & retail really got my cogs turning. They certainly seem to be doing a fabulous job of integrating their digital & traditional stores. The views expressed by Terry Lundgren seem to be very well thought out, it certainly sounds like they’ve got an incredible, interconnected digital & traditional strategy. Perhaps the most important thing is the fact that they see both online and offline retail as the same thing, it’s the same, singular, customer experience.

I’m curious to know more about what they’re actually doing in-store. I hope it’s as interesting as they make it out to be. If you’ve been to Macy’s recently, please tell me what’s actually going on inside.  I’m going to be talking more about omni channel retail soon, if you’ve seen any great examples in action please let me know!

Experimenting with your Email Campaigns

You constantly hear about A/B testing, and the importance of testing your email. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering “Why? How much difference could it really make?” I send out my emails and I get some leads – it’s great.

The truth is quite horrifying. A good email, gets more than a 100% increase in open rates. That’s twice as many potential leads. Just because you tweaked your email campaigns a little (okay… quite likely a lot). Either way, it makes your email campaigns a much more interesting all of a sudden.

MarketingSherpa does a good job in this article of talking about the actual difference between two emails they ran. The comments from the users highlight a few factors that you might also want to use in your experiments, and this MarketingSherpa article provides an overview of the significance of various factors (there are some notable overlaps – highlighted in bold):

  1. Variance in link location performance (on one email)
  2. Quantity of images 
  3. Subject line
  4. User profiling / targeting
  5. Landing page design & performance for conversion

The bottom line is that your bottom line could be improved by experimenting with some of these factors. Don’t try to handle them all, just focus on a few at a time and check to see if there’s any improvement. Keep in mind that open rates aren’t the goal, you’re still focused on leads & conversion. So re-positioning solely to achieve a higher open rate, isn’t helpful if there’s no change in the nett performancen of your leads.


Why your Email strategy needs themes

Is your email strategy is a week-to-week collection of offers, interspersed with some content? Or a soup of weekly content with little correlation? You’ll probably find that your open rate is massively variable or just really low (Eloqua has some great details on average industry open rates). More importantly you won’t be able to respond, because figuring out what your users are actually responding to is difficult.

There’s plenty of articles about creating interesting and meaningful content, not to mention how and why it helps, but creating links and themes between your email content is just as important.

Costume Fiesta

For my email campaigns I create monthly themes (for about 3 months), and then  chalk out weekly content ideas. I try to get each idea to sojourn into the next, and have some linkage to past content (for reinforcement). Ideally speaking they’ll have some connection to real world activities that we’re conducting. This sounds tedious but doesn’t actually take very long.

If you’ve got decent email software (and aren’t sending everything by bcc), you’ll quickly be able to get an idea as to what content is working and what isn’t. Trends will be easier to spot because you’ll have more than one reference point for a topic.

If you’ve got fancy Hubspot-esque software that does user-profile building, then creating theme’s is going to be even more advantageous. As your theme’s will help you create more realistic pictures about your visitors than just a single “I-read-this-article” reference point would.

Of course if you know what your users interests are, selling to them becomes easier – but you didn’t need me to tell you that did you? What strategies are you using when planning out your content?