Christmas in June

 Bonnie Malone 

Yes, it seems to be that time of year for retailers…time to start planning for holidays promotions. (Can you believe it – already!?!) In the blur of deciding on campaign themes, offer strategies, and creative approach, don’t forget about the Shopper, who is at the center of this whirlwind. To optimize success in the inbox, take a few minutes to consider subscriber feedback from last year’s campaigns (via Return Path’s 2007 Holiday Survey). Implementing adjustments now, during the planning period, is most efficient — as this is the ideal time to affect change:

Relevance is still key. Nearly half (45%) of subscribers ignore every email if prior value has not been proven. And, 58% use the subject line to determine if the message will be of interest to them. Don’t give in to the temptation to “batch-and-blast,” which may negatively affect subscriber response and your brand perception.

More isn’t necessarily better. 29% of subscribers deleted messages they felt came too frequently. While it is tempting to significantly increase frequency during the holidays, monitor response closely to prevent overmailing and saturation of your file.

Multichannel efforts require coordination. 15% of subscribers used email when visiting a store, down 25% from 2006. Make offers easily redeemable across channels, so the customer can choose what’s most convenient for them.

Know they subscriber: Industry data such as ours is great, but don’t ignore what your subscribers tell you. Take a hard look at last year’s metrics, field a survey or run a quick test campaign. Data you analyze now will help you come October (and November, and December).

As the Christmas season nears, and shopping carts fill, may 2008 be the best season yet!

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About Bonnie Malone

Bonnie is passionate about excellent customer experience. With a background in marketing, merchandise buying, and retail management, she helps companies stay relevant amid the changing digital landscape. Bonnie leads the knowledge and consulting teams at Return Path, the global leader in email deliverability. She is an active Email Experience Council committee member, featured speaker for events, and writes monthly for the Return Path blog and TotalRetail.

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