Once again we’ve gathered Listrak’s global retail email campaign metrics for the recently completed quarter and compared them to the metrics from the quarter prior.  Although the numbers represent all Listrak clients from across a wide array of verticals, many of whom may not be considered holiday-sensitive retailers, it’s always especially interesting to see how campaigns performed in Q4 - the months during which email volume and online shopping are at their peaks.

Here are my thoughts on what we’re seeing:

Open Rates

Notable: The only campaigns that enjoyed higher open rates vs. Q3 were Recurring Automated Campaigns and Welcome Series emails.

Insights: Opens obviously suffer in general when inboxes are fuller than ever; however, subscribers may have been especially eager to open Recurring Automated Campaigns because they contain highly personalized, up-to-the minute product recommendations based on each individual’s most recent activity, making them particularly helpful to busy shoppers.

Welcome Series messages, which see some of the highest open rates year-round, may have also been especially popular in Q4 because many shoppers subscribe to new lists during the holiday shopping season and are eager to take advantage of sign-up incentives.  

Conversion Rates

Notable:  All campaigns in Q4 had increased conversion rates vs. Q3 except Recurring Automated Campaigns, Post Purchase and Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails.

Insights: We all know that email in general is the workhorse of all digital marketing channels, so it stands to reason that conversions would be up in general during the year’s busiest online shopping months.

Recurring Automated Campaigns, however, may not have converted as well because they are often used as a time- and cost-effective way for retailers to present full-price products, and holiday shoppers have been trained to respond to deep holiday discounts.

The dip in conversion rates for Post Purchase emails might be explained by the fact that this metric includes not only loyalty emails that follow soon after a purchase, but also those that are typically sent 30, 60, etc. days post purchase based on what the subscriber most likely bought for him or herself. In Q4, however, many shoppers are looking to purchase for others, so these messages may seem less relevant.

Likewise it is not surprising that Shopping Cart Abandonment email conversions were down slightly, as there is much more abandonment activity when traffic is high, and shoppers tend to put items in carts with less intention to purchase during the hectic shopping season.

Average Order Value and Revenue Per Email Sent

In addition, we look at the global AOV and revenue per email sent for our retailer’s email campaigns:  

In Q4, as you can see, campaign winners and losers were pretty even for both, and, to be honest, nothing stands out to me that would truly explain the metrics. There is not doubt, however, that Q4 is a pivotal quarter for retailers.

In fact, as I was finishing up this post, I came upon a very interesting report from RJMetrics, The Ecommerce Holiday Customer Benchmark, which sheds some light on just how important the quarter is for online retailers. RJMetrics reports for example:

  • Retailers acquire 20-59% more customers during holiday months, and the percentage can be even more for holiday-sensitive retail categories
  • 39% of holiday shoppers who make a second purchase with a retailer do so in the same holiday season
  • Holiday-sensitive retail categories generate 24% of their annual revenue from holiday customers

What did you see in your business this holiday season? If you have any insights, we’d be eager to hear them.

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