We hosted the first of our two Customer Connections events in New York this week. It was filled with new ideas, best practices and strategies that will help retailers create a seamless shopping experience for their customers across multiple channels.

We’re starting to hear from some attendees and the feedback has been great:

“I was thrilled with all the presentations and had some great takeaways!”

“It was a good one, lots of good real-life examples shared.”

“Many thanks to the Listrak team for putting on such a wonderful and valuable event yesterday!”

Morning Sessions Recap

The day began with Scott Lachut from PSFK Labs providing a look at where the retail industry is heading. Many retail stores are adding digital experiences that engage shoppers and help them transition seamlessly as they move from the store to their mobile devices. He provided 10 pillars retailers need in order to deliver the right experience. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Enhance the path to purchase by creating confidence to give customers the opportunity to explore and discover products while eliminating obstacles to save customers time and effort during checkout
  • Build better relationships by democratizing access – allow customers to experience things that were previously exclusive or expensive, personalizing messages and promoting transparency
  • Create a valuable community through perfect partnerships, optimizing ownership – educating consumers after a purchase is made - and cultivating an environment where customers can interact with one another to share experiences
  • Elevate your brand by encouraging advocacy and delivering delight – give customers more than they expect

You can learn more by downloading PSFK’s Future of Retail Report.

Next, Listrak’s CEO, Ross Kramer, shared how Listrak can help retailers achieve the goals Scott outlined. Listrak can help retailers connect with customers when and how they shop – in-store, online or on mobile devices and the key to success is through personalization and segmentation. After some selfies and a networking break that included mimosas, which were sponsored by Listrak’s partner UPS, the sessions were targeted and specific, providing actual strategies and tactics that retailers could implement right away.

Art Tschopp, the Director of Listrak’s west coast office, was up next talking about the importance of breaking down data silos in order to use all customer data to inform campaigns. He provided some stats showing that 62% of marketers feel overwhelmed by the volume of data they have and only 3% feel like they can use their data effectively. And while data is a difficult topic as it can get technical and overwhelming quickly, Art made it approachable and easy to understand by using a motorcycle analogy. He showed a video of a man jumping over a few cars on a motorcycle – a jump that was impressive back in the 80s but not so much today. In fact, one YouTube commenter stated that his grandmother could have made the same jump. He then showed a video of the world’s first motorcycle triple back flip with the comment “This. Was. Awesome.” What does that have to do with data? Everything. Retail marketers need to use their data to deliver delight, as Scott from PSFK mentioned. If they are simply jumping over a car – a “dead sailor” in motorcycle terms – by sending nothing but broadcast messages to every person on their list, the subscribers won’t be impressed. However, by using data in simple ways, such as personalizing subject lines with preferred brands or local store info, using preference center data to segment lists appropriately and getting even more granular by layering on browse and purchase history as well as behavioral data, retailers can achieve the triple backflip and really impress shoppers with targeted and personalized messaging.

Art also set up the rest of the day sharing how a shopper’s email address is the universal identifier and how retailers can tie a customer’s home and work computer, tablet and mobile phone to a single account simply by monitoring the shopper’s interaction on those devices. Doing so allows for all of the customer data to be used in future campaigns. For more information on cross-device targeting, check out our article “The Ultimate Personalization Tactic”.

Kara Surrena, Director of Client Services, rounded out the morning with everyone’s favorite topic – email marketing benchmarks and how to beat them. She shared that retailers spend the lowest amount on email marketing – approximately only 3.3% of their digital marketing budgets, but email has the highest return, bringing in nearly 25% of total revenue. Email returns $38 for every dollar spent, which is 40x higher than social marketing’s ROI. She reviewed specific benchmarks for a number of email campaigns, pointing out that welcome messages generate 18x more revenue than broadcast messages and online browse messages, cart abandonment campaigns and back in stock alerts generate 8x, 46x and 32x more revenue than broadcast messages, respectively. She spent time comparing the performance of a typical untargeted broadcast message with the much more personalized recurring automated campaign, showing retailers how they can save time and resources with the later.

Lunch was sponsored by Listrak’s partners Weblinc and Lyons. Both presented 30 minute lunch and learns to packed rooms.

Afternoon Sessions Recap

The afternoon started with Cherrill Hartman, an Account Manager at Listrak, presenting on how to acquire customers, not just subscribers. She walked through two shopper personas – the in-store shopper and the online shopper, offering information on how retailers can and should present an easy opt-in at every touchpoint. Cherrill then went on to talk about engaging new subscribers through thoughtful welcome series in order to get the first sale. She shared that 17% of all welcome messages are sent within five minutes of subscription when shoppers are still online and contemplating the purchase. She also shared some ideas on how to make the welcome messages personal and how to segment them by subscription point. A customer who opts-in through a modal lightbox should receive different messaging than customers who sign up during the checkout process.

Next, Ryan Ogurcak, Senior Account Manager at Listrak, talked in-depth about personalization, including best practices for using personal product recommendations onsite, in email messages and in display messages. He shared that of the contacts on a retailer’s list, only 30-40% have purchased and he discussed how personalizing messages based on shoppers’ past browse and purchase behaviors can nurture shoppers to the first sale. He offered ideas for personalizing broadcast messages as well as post purchase and winback campaigns, saying that 80% of customers are open to receiving more emails as long as the messages are personalized to their needs.

After another short networking break, which was sponsored by ECommerce Partners, Account Manager Matt Lindley tackled the topic of retention. He shared a MarketingSherpa study showing that 67% of retailers say that delivering highly relevant content is a priority but only 49% want to segment their databases and then offered easy segmentation tactics that anyone could implement right away. The first thing retailers should do is send the same message to two different segments, such as customers who have and haven’t purchased. This way they can see how the two segments react. He then shared how all subscribers fall into one of four categories: new subscribers (signed up within 30 days), active subscribers (subscribers who opened, clicked and/or purchased within 60 days), lapsing subscribers (haven’t opened within 90 days), and inactive subscribers (haven’t opened within 120 days), and suggested sending slightly different versions of messages to those four segments. Doing so can greatly impact the amount of revenue driven through the campaigns and it doesn’t require a lot of time or extra resources or data mining. He then shared a Listrak case study on BrainMD Health and how they’re segmenting their list using browse and purchase history, subscription date and other email metrics. They more targeted you can get, the higher the emails perform.

The final session of the day was led by Product Manager Aaron Pearson. The morning started off with The Future of Email and ended with The Future of Email. Aaron discussed highlights of 2015, including automated and personalized cross-channel campaigns, how more than half of all emails are now opened on mobile devices and how more inboxes are supporting responsive design. He then offered a number of email examples on both graceful degradation and progressive enhancement – he has a great blog post on the topic “Inbox Wars: The Email Awakens”. He ended a great day with real examples of how retailers are designing not just for inboxes but to drive shoppers back to sites to complete purchases.

The rules of digital marketing have changed and retailers need to respond to customers. If they aren’t delivering the right experiences, customers will shop elsewhere. This day-long event offered up a ton of new ideas on how retailers can deliver the right experience to the always connected customer.

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