’Tis the Season for E-Blasts

The holiday shopping season may be well under way, but it’s not too late for retailers to rethink some of its last-minute e-mail blasts to help boost conversion rates and avoid becoming inbox clutter.

During a recent Webinar, “End of the Year E-Commerce Survival,” hosted by e-commerce solution provider MarketLive Inc., San Francisco, the president of Chicago-based the etailing group Inc. Lauren Freedman offered suggestions on how retailers can make the most of their e-mail marketing campaigns using creative, but simple, strategies.

Below is a sampling of four effective e-mail blasts used by retailers last year that are sure to be top strategies again this year.

Ratings and Reviews:

More consumers are reading online ratings and reviews before making a purchase. In fact, nearly 65% of the time, customer ratings reviews are read “most of the time” or “always” prior to making a decision to purchase a product, according to Freedman. That said, it’s only natural for retailers to embrace the power of the community and highlight top-rated holiday products on the site via e-mail.

Here, The Home Depot features four of its top-selling products using a clean, organized and easy-on-the eye layout, complemented by festive holiday colors. Clicking on the top-rated items pushes the consumer back to the site.

Get Creative:

Retailers know many shoppers wait until the last minute to shop for holiday gifts, and some can cash in big time by offering consumers extra motivation to make a final purchase.

Blissworld.com takes the negative of waiting until the last minute and turns it into a positive by offering shoppers a gift-with-purchase on orders over $50, while reminding them about its second-day shipping cut-off date. Its “procrastination has its perks” tagline is innovative and adds extra appeal to shoppers making last-minute decisions, Freedman said.

E-Shopping Incentives:

Road Runner Sports’ e-mail campaign offers many incentives in one, ranging from gifting ideas and deals. But it also touts a very critical message: “Deck the Halls … Avoid the Malls!”

Giving shoppers reasons why they should shop online, such as avoiding the malls or saving gas money, resonates with customers, especially during a time when customers are looking to save amid a struggling economy. Road Runner also couples this message with conditional free shipping to help close the sale.

Post-Holiday Branding:

End the year in style with a warm, branded thank-you message acknowledging a shopper’s continued patronage. Freedman suggests retailers use a category-related lifestyle photo and messaging, similar to PetSmart’s e-mail campaign seen here. PetSmart sent this e-mail three days after Christmas last year, and also included a masthead with category links to encourage more shopping in the days ahead.