5 Top Email Marketing Trends in Retailers for 2018

Posted by Philip Storey on 02/02/18 10:44
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top email marketing trends for retailers

There is no denying that email marketing is still a key channel for retailers in 2018. And with retail brands using email more frequently for building customer relationships, competition is fierce. Brands must continually optimise their approach to stay ahead of the game and get subscribers’ attention. We've outlined some top trends for email marketers in retail for the year ahead.

In The Direct Marketing Association’s latest email tracking study, it was revealed that email marketing receives 30 times return on investment on average and 95% of respondents rated the channel as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to their business. 

Here are 5 top email marketing trends for retailers to improve email marketing ROI in 2018.

1. Social sharing and community cultivation

According to a study from GetResponse, social sharing is capable of boosting email results remarkably. The study found that when social networks were added to emails, the average email click through rate increased by 158%. The highest networks being LinkedIn (7.9%), followed by Facebook (6.2%) and then Twitter (6.2%).

Email marketing and social media work together so well because your brand can use social to grow your subscriber list and you can use email marketing to promote social sharing and grow your fanbase. The benefits of social sharing in email marketing are boundless, with more campaign visibility and increased brand awareness which could ultimately drive conversions.

Sephora Facebook CTA

In this example, Sephora promotes new Facebook content through an email marketing campaign. The brand encourages its subscribers to design their own moodboards on social and also to start shopping. Sephora succeeds with this campaign by encouraging subscribers to engage with products on social and move further down the sales funnel.

2. Personalisation and segmentation

Because email campaigns are becoming more data-driven, there’s now a need for more relevant and personalised email marketing. We should expect personalisation and segmentation strategies to continue growing in sophistication.

According to eMarketer, 78% of retail consumers are more likely to become repeat customers if they’re sent targeted personal offers. Also, emails with personalisation have a 29% higher open rate and 41% higher click through rate (Experian).

Brands are now using firmographic, behavioral, demographic and psychographic data to deliver personalised marketing content to subscribers.

Nordstrom personalised email

In this email, Nordstrom used very personal emails, based on behavioural triggers, to remind subscribers what they left in their online shopping baskets.

Behavioral personalisation is a great way to win back lapsed customers or even encourage customers to convert on abandoned baskets. The best part about integrating behavioural data in your email marketing campaigns is that it’s based on the customer’s very last action, meaning it will always be relevant to them.

3. Relevance and context

Relevancy involves getting the right email messages in front of subscribers at the right times. If your brand can do this, then you’re more likely to achieve subscriber engagement. 

Data is a helping brands become increasingly relevant to their customers. Paula Sala from Freshmail told Email Vendor Selection, “Being able to use and process both the data from email marketing platforms and the data outsourced from integrated apps and services, email communication will become highly personalised and relevant.”

With this relevancy and context, your brand can deliver stronger and more timely content. Testing your email campaign volume and frequency will help you to create even more impact.

cragshoppers basket abandonment email

In this email, Craghoppers achieved impressive results through a basket abandonment campaign. Emails were sent to customers 24 hours and three days after cart abandonment - just enough time for them to reconsider making a purchase.

4. AI and virtual assistants

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning is growing among email marketers. Now that there are easier and more affordable ways to access cloud resources, all kinds of businesses are able to work with data sets. This information can then be used to contribute to an improved user experience. 

For example, platforms offered by companies such as Phrasee and Persado use machine learning to learn what resonates best with a specific marketer’s audience. These email tools allows marketers to determine what subject lines or calls-to-action (CTAs) recipients are most likely to respond to. According to Phrasee, its AI-generated subject lines outperform human-written subject lines 95% of the time!

Nykaa.com used Boomtrain, an AI-powered marketing engine, to deliver more personalised and relevant experience to their subscribers through email marketing. Here are a few highly-targeted campaigns they ran on particular segments:

  • The first email targets the segment “users who bought L’Oreal products”.

AI email marketing campaign nykaa with l'Oreal


  • The second email targets “highly engaged users” via an information campaign, including details about different beauty products.

AI email marketing campaign nykaa beauty


  • Finally, they target “users who bought hair products” and are also “highly engaged” with this third email.

AI email marketing campaign nykaa hair and beauty


5. Email marketing automation

In the 2017 Adestra email marketing report, two-thirds of marketers chose marketing automation capability as the most important part of their email service provider’s technology platform.

Automating emails will save your brand time and you won’t have to manually compose every message you’re sending. Your brand can also make smarter decisions with automation using third-party software. For example, reacting to trigger events and sending different messages based on these events.

Automation also ties in closely with the trend of segmentation and personalisation of emails. According to Krzysztof Jarecki of ExpertSender: “Most companies have a large content library, so we’ll see greater automation of segmentation and matching of customers with the most appropriate content for their business goals.”

email marketing automation Dormify

In this email campaign, the lifestyle brand Dormify adopted an automated email series in place of their batch-and-blast system.

By segmenting and tending to the different needs of its customers, Dormify was able to set up an automated email campaign. This allowed email marketers to deliver relevancy through a personalised automated email series: welcome emails, cart abandonment campaigns and post-purchase marketing.

Case study from marketingsherpa.com.

Summary: Keep up with the competition

For the best ROI, your brand needs to remain on top of the trends and retain a competitive edge. Many of the techniques mentioned are not new, but they’ve become increasingly popularity as they help move customers further down the customer lifecycle. Whether it’s harnessing user data, embracing a third-party app or delivering more relevancy, there are lots of opportunities for retail brands to grow their email marketing success in 2018!

Want to take a leap with email marketing this year and improve your strategy? Get a free email audit and roadmap from one of our expert email marketing consultants!

Get free email audit and roadmap

Enchant is a leading UK digital marketing agency, based in London. We specialise in email marketing, CRM, inbound marketing and paid social advertising, helping brands to reach their potential with innovative customer lifecycle marketing strategies. Get in touch with our world-class marketing consultants to see how we can supercharge your performance!

Topics: Email Marketing, Email marketing campaigns, Email marketing strategy, relevance, Relevant content, Retail, retailers, Marketing trends, relevancy, email marketing trends, 2018 marketing trends

Philip Storey

Written by Philip Storey

Philip Storey is the Founder and CEO at Enchant Agency. Philip is an email marketing specialist in London, UK. He has enabled hundreds of brands to improve their email marketing. Beyond marketing, Philip is a business coach, personal and professional development coach and mentor to business leaders and senior marketers.

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