Once you’ve built a perfectly optimised preference centre and evaluated the merits of responsive design, it’s important you start looking at how impactful your email marketing campaigns are and identify the key “moments of truth” your customers and recipients truly care about.

With eCommerce spending per head now exceeding £100 per year, coupled with the fact that smartphone penetration in the UK is now 58% and one fifth of the population now is in possession of a tablet, customers are more connected than ever before. As a result, marketers – especially in the retail sector – need to be well placed to spot live opportunities and respond to them by sending creatively engaging content to their customers before or at the point they are willing to make a decision.

The Superbowl blackout earlier this year is a prime example of this in action – Oreo’s “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” campaign was spontaneous, reactive and flooded social media. It was a great piece of marketing, which was rooted in experience and established synergy between the brand, the product and the consumer. The same can be done with email, providing you’ve got the right data to:

a) know what will emotionally influence your customers to engage

b) know who to send what to and what time

c) understand each customers’ “moment of truth” or trigger point that you can exploit

In fact, in the current climate of high-street casualties, marketers need to look at redefining the customer/retailer/brand relationship and move beyond personalisation, if they are to delve deeper into the triggers that drive consumers to progress down the path to purchase.

Personalised emails are vitally important as part of this mix, but if retailers are to capitalise on the increasing number of interstices, the point when customers are travelling to work or the pub, when people are most likely on social media or email, they need to be far more proactive.

Whilst your regular monthly newsletter is designed to keep your customers informed and help you retain a high level of visibility, it’s important your campaigns go beyond that. With the threat of “showrooming” looming large over the high-street, retailers need to continue to implement and deliver their highly personalised campaigns.

Much like the “kitchen clickers” concept at Homebase, which I have covered in a previous post, retailers need to look at ways they can take this to the next level. It’s all providing added value for the consumer and generating high levels of ROI for your business.

This brings me back to the “cost per influence” approach to measurement. Whilst no single element can be directly attributed to securing the sale, in multi-channel, the level of influence each element generates is easier to understand. It’s this level of influence that I want to focus on.

So how do you go about delving deeper into the triggers that drive consumers to progress down the path to purchase?

The key here is identifying the crucial decisions in the buying process which motivate your customers. What makes the customer go through/not go through with purchasing an item? Are they concerned by price? Or is the range or specification of products not to their liking? Are they purely browsing for research purposes before opting to buy from one of your competitors? Are they actually ready to buy? Or are there other factors at bay?

These questions should provide you with enough insight into determining the “moment of truth” in each of these scenarios. Ultimately you want to find out if there is a way of securing the sale and what the most effective approach to do so is?

Halfords, originally focused on a traditional blanket email strategy to interact with their customers, but as their online store has grown they recognised a need for a more reactive and engaging approach, which went beyond simply adopting a personalised method.

Rather than using data from their preference centre to create personalised, targeted messages, Halfords was keen to investigate why customers were abandoning their online shopping baskets at various stages of the purchase process. With the specific focus on pinpointing the moments which were driving or turning customers away from buying goods online. These lost customers, were highlighted as vital targets for a well-crafted email campaign.

But the primary aim of these messages, remained traditional, driving customers to the online store. In order to do this, they were keen to see whether a targeted email campaign could help to re-engage thoselost customers, through relevant offers which would result in increased sales.

Since Halfords upgraded its email strategy to include web analytics software, open rates have risen to over 25%, with click through rates jumping to 8.5%. In terms of sales and overall return on investment, weekly sales revenues typically vary from 80% to 150% of the cost of the initial deployment.

The consideration phase for a big purchase is a key and vital opportunity for any retailer. In the current wave of cross-channel shopping that can be a finite amount of time, which unless you are at the forefront of your customers mind, you might fail to capitalise on.If you can identify these opportunities you can respond to your customers with relevant content that highlights your key services just when the customer needs it.

But, don’t forget, you also have to look out for the opportunities where customers don’t need something. These in some ways are more valuable. If you can catch customers before they drift off, or target them with alternative offerings, which are akin to their original enquiry, you can capitalise on these crucial “moments” before they are lost.

Mark Ash

Mark Ash


Mark Ash is Managing Director Teradata Interactive International.