Practical Ecommerce

Email Case Study: Toys“R”Us Gears Up for Cyber Monday

For online retailers, the days before and after Thanksgiving can determine a successful holiday season. Toys“R”Us, the large U.S.-based toy retailer, uses email marketing extensively during the holidays. I’ll analyze Toys“R”Us’s email strategies in this article — to help other merchants with their email promotion efforts.

For its holiday email marketing, Toy”R”Us is increasing its email frequency, utilizing creative subject lines, and promoting deep discounts. And it’s including mobile versions of its emails, in addition to traditional desktop versions.

Increased Email Frequency

As a Toys”R”Us email subscriber, I typically receive a few emails each week. Unless I have a birthday party for a niece or nephew coming up, I usually delete without opening or reading the emails. Despite that, I am still apparently in Toy”R”Us’s frequent email bucket as I receive the emails often. In the past few days, however, the company has noticeably increased the frequency. It’s not just daily emails, but as often as three times per day.

With two weeks to go before Thanksgiving, Toys“R”Us is increasing its email frequency to multiple sends per day.

With two weeks to go before Thanksgiving, Toys“R”Us is increasing its email frequency to multiple sends per day.

Creative Subject Lines

Subject lines can be the most crucial element of any email campaign. If a recipient is not interested enough to open an email, then the message and creative content becomes is useless. For the holiday season, determine the most interesting and appealing subject lines to get subscribers to open.

When increasing frequency, take special note of your subject lines. They should differ greatly. It is also a great time to test different strategies in subject line writing. Toys“R”Us is offering a wide variety of different groups of toys in its emails. It is also mixing discounted pricing and free shipping offers. The emails it sends multiple times per day have a wide range of subject lines and product and pricing offers.

Incredible Offers

For the holidays, shoppers look for great deals; retailers know they have to provide value to attract customers. Already, Toys“R”Us is offering free shipping — with no minimum order amount — and 10 percent off with rewards offers. Free shipping will no doubt be popular this holiday season, with more and more shoppers expecting it.

Toys“R”Us is already showcasing competitive offers.

Toys“R”Us is already showcasing competitive offers.

Offer a Mobile Version

For this holiday season, consumers will increasingly use mobile devices to read their emails. If you have a mostly image-based email, make sure you include a link — at the top — for a mobile version. The mobile version should not be glamorous. But if it means the difference between someone looking at your email or not, it’s better to have. The objective of any mobile version is to quickly convey the value of the email and provide easy links to the landing pages — in as few steps as possible. Ideally, merchants should create emails that are optimized already for mobile devices — it’s one less click a mobile consumer must take to get to the site.

Toys“R”Us mobile version is simple, but gives the consumer a quick glance at the offer and links to it — to start shopping.

Toys“R”Us mobile version is simple, but gives the consumer a quick glance at the offer and links to it — to start shopping.

Triggered Emails

Getting consumers to your site is step number one. Once they leave your site without completing the purchase, make sure you have all your retargeting efforts in place, including abandoned cart emails or other triggered emails to help bring those customers back to your site to complete their purchases. I’ve addressed triggered email strategies here previously, at “The Power of Triggered Emails; 6 Examples”.

Bottom Line

The holiday season is here now; it’s crunch time for many retailers. In Toy”R”Us’s case, it is increasing its email frequency and using compelling subject lines for a wide variety of products and offers. It’s also linking to the mobile versions of the emails.

Carolyn Nye

Carolyn Nye

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Comment ( 1 )

  1. Kathy Heslop November 17, 2011 Reply

    An insightful article TY, it’s definitely hotting up on both sides of the pond. Online Christmas spending is set to reach £3.72bn ($5.95bn) during peak activity weeks (IMRG) and at Ve Interactive, worldwide we are finding that this has been the year of the Re’s – remarketing, recommerce etc.