A detailed product recommendation email strategy helps optimize the online customer experience and drive business results through your email efforts. This proves that any email you, as an ecommerce professional, send to prospects and customers has more influence than you think. In fact, 59% of retailers say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions.
However, the reality is that competition is steep. In 2019, it was estimated that about 294 billion emails were sent and received daily.
Before you start to panic, rest assured: ecommerce is an ever-evolving industry, and there are new and innovative ways to stand out from billions of other emails in order to reach your customers.
Good design is a must, and witty and captivating copy captures consumer attention. But what else can you do?
There are a number of ways to do email personalization (clever segmentation, dynamic copy changes). However, in this article we’ll focus on the product recommendation email – email communication based on a user’s browsing and buying behavior – and the ideal strategy you should use to turn your email marketing into a larger conversion driver.
The Product Recommendation Email, Explained
Why include product recommendations in emails that may not be product focused?
Well, whatever industry, whatever you store – your products are what drives your business.
Selling is your aim, and any touch point where you are not at least making a nod to this aim is effectively a wasted opportunity. This doesn’t mean you should turn your newsletter or other email communication into a piece of spam – but add another dimension to it with unobtrusive recommendations that support the existing work done in personalization of the store.
Yes, you could just add any product – a random selection if you will – but the art of selling is really about optimizing every opportunity to maximize the chance of a return. As we have already shown these shoppers are in high demand, with little time or patience for what isn’t relevant to them. As a merchant, your duty is to curate what you show them. This used to be a cumbersome task, but luckily this process can now be entirely automated.
5 Examples of Using Recommendations In Your Email Strategy
While there are a number of product recommendation examples you can deploy across your website and external channels, let’s look at 5 examples of how recommendations can transform your email strategy.
Browsing History/Browsing History Related Emails
People are busy – sometimes they see things they like, plan to come back and never make it. Or even worse, perhaps they make their way to your competitor’s site. Sometimes a recommendation can be as simple as prompting someone to pick up where they left off in their journey – that’s where the Browsing History email comes into play.
A Browsing History Related email goes one step further by suggesting relevant but alternative items, based on those pieces that a shopper showed an interest in (but excluding the original items). This is useful in helping shoppers discover items that are in line with their taste when the original items were, for whatever reason, not quite the right fit.
Crate & Barrel entices their shoppers by recommending ‘more for you’ products at the bottom of their emails that are based on a shopper’s previous browsing affinities:
Boost the relevancy of your email marketing by adding a personalized recommendation to your newsletters.
Personalized recommendations are similar to browsing history reminders but are weighted according to other indicators of interest: such as how often an item was visited or whether it was held in their cart. This allows you to prioritize those items that are most likely to convert according to your shopper’s taste.
Additionally, if someone leaves an email address with you without exploring your site, there are times when you will be left without enough data to properly personalize the email (other than with the aforementioned name tagging).
In this case, a good alternative is to use the space to highlight top lists. By promoting the best-sellers and top-trending items, you’re showcasing what’s hot in your store right now, reflecting current trends and maximizing your chances of conversion. An example of this can be seen in Björn Borg‘s newsletters:
Bonus tip: If there isn’t enough data on an individual to fully personalize the recommendations, then you might consider combining these approaches. Nosto, for example, will offer as many personalized recommendations as possible then fill any blank spaces with trending items.
Similarly, Crate & Barrel weaves ‘more for you’ recommendations into their newsletters:
‘We Miss You’ Emails
If a customer has not visited a store for a while, a natural way to re-engage them is to reach out to them via email. A We Miss You’ email accomplishes just that: they help re-activate at-risk customers who either haven’t purchased from you in a long time and promotes new products they’ve likely not discovered yet, based on their previous shopping affinities.
Send timing for a ‘We Miss You’ email should be based on your specific business goals – and with Nosto, you can set parameters to send these emails within a certain number of days after a customer has made a purchase.
Cart Abandonment Emails
One often underused tactic is the use of abandoned cart emails – emails that contain products left behind by a shopper. These emails can be triggered automatically when a shopper leaves a site.
Customers who have left products in their shopping cart (either due to indecision or lack of time) should be re-engaged with email reminders containing said products, encouraging them to complete their purchase.
Automate your retention or delayed ‘thank you’ messages that feature personalized recommendations by sending a reminder a few days or weeks after the previous purchase.
Woodhouse Clothing’s “welcome email” series displays recommendations designed to surface new products to customers based on their first visit to the site:
The Growth Benefits of Recommendation Emails
Now that we’ve covered some tangible examples of how you can personalize your emails, let’s look at some of the results you can expect from these tactics.
Higher Average Visit Value
As we’ve mentioned, your customers receive far more emails a day than they can get to. By tailoring messaging and timing to different actions that shoppers take and meeting shoppers in their inbox, you can lower the barrier to action and drive overall average visit value.
Whether it’s a ‘welcome’ email or letting their customers know about a new range of products launched on the store, Beautify capitalizes on email marketing by consistently displaying products their customers may be interested in.
A past Mother’s Day reminder campaign for the brand generated a 12% email click-through rate:
Higher Conversion Rates
Reminder: Even if your shoppers have converted, the journey should not stop there.
There’s hardly ever a bad time to re-engage shoppers when they aren’t actively browsing your site. Whether they need a little nudge to come back and purchase or need an invitation to make additional purchases, inserting product recommendations in emails are a great way to turn “lost” customers into conversion opportunities.
Using personalized emails, Melvin & Hamilton increased their conversions by 2.7x:
More Targeted Site Traffic
Zoovillage sends personalized emails to their clients that showcase similar product recommendations to the ones a shopper sees onsite. This ensures a consistent and relevant shopping experience.
Through Nosto, the recommendations displayed in the email campaigns vary according to each shopper’s previous browsing and/or purchase behavior. Additionally, Zoovillage’s emails display the brand’s currently trending products.
This strategy has led to a 15% increase in views on existing product recommendations for Zoovillage, making email one of the brand’s most fruitful channels for ecommerce sales:
Start Transforming Your Email Strategy with Personalized Product Recommendations
These examples are just one important part of a successful product recommendation strategy. Nosto’s Personalized Emails support all modern email service providers without laborious back-end integration – meaning that you can go live merely in minutes with product recommendation emails that can impact engagement, conversion, order value and more.
To discover more innovative tactics to implement product recommendations in your email strategy that are specific to your business goals, reach out to your Customer Success Manager.
If you’re not a Nosto customer, you can get started with a personalized email strategy by requesting a demo with one of our ecommerce experts.