Marketing & Advertising

Merchandising for Email Marketing

Featuring the correct mix of products in your marketing emails can create interest from subscribers, and drive revenue. Depending on the strategy, the products to feature in the emails will differ drastically.

In this post, I’ll explore four common ecommerce email strategies, and how to merchandise for each one.

Strategy: Increase Email Opens

To increase email engagement by your subscribers, feature new products, a mix of interesting products, and offers and discounts.

The first step is to use the subject line and pre-header to entice subscribers to open. New products, seasonality, or time-sensitive offers can help.

This email from Martha Stewart Living is timely since it was sent on a Monday with ideas for weeknight meals.

This email from Martha Stewart Living is timely since it was sent on a Monday with ideas for weeknight meals.

One day after Mother’s Day, PersonalizationMall.com and Personal Creations shifted their email focus to Father’s Day and graduations.

One day after Mother’s Day, PersonalizationMall.com and Personal Creations shifted their email focus to Father’s Day and graduations.

Strategy: Increase Clicks

Once a recipient opens an email, the next objective is to get him to click. In this strategy, the merchandising tactics can vary since it is difficult to know what most email readers will find engaging enough to click on.

To increase clicks, include a mix of products that are interesting and different from each other, and also include a compelling discount or price point.

Note the example below from Personal Creations, a retailer of unique gifts. The top portion of the email contains a strong discount: $10 off. The merchandise in the email focuses on Father’s Day, with different products for different fathers.

This email from PersonalCreations.com contains a $10 off offer. The merchandise focuses on Father’s Day, with different products for different fathers.

This email from PersonalCreations.com contains a $10 off offer. The merchandise focuses on Father’s Day, with different products for different fathers.

Gift-guide type merchandising works because you offer ideas of what a reader can purchase, which is helpful for undecided gift givers. The risk in sending holiday-specific emails is that a recipient is not looking to purchase a gift for that occasion. For those recipients, however, a strong offer — $10 off — can still get them to click.

Strategy: Drive Sales

Analyzing what recipients clicked in your past emails is a good first step in predicting what they will click in the future. Typically recipients click on the major buttons, or calls to action, or the logo. Offers for popular products typically receive a high percentage of clicks. So to drive conversations, include some of your best selling items.

Then, after a purchase, use the data about that buyer — the products and prices — to cross-sell with similar or complementary items. Using a triggered email follow-up after a purchase can greatly help.

Strategy: Sell Excess Inventory

Sometimes, unfortunately, merchants need to sell old or unpopular products. In these situations, offering heavy discounts on those products via email can prompt recipients. Including an add-to-cart button directly in the body of an email will allow an overstock item to be used as a “cart starter” — to get recipients in the checkout process, which will trigger abandonment emails if they do not complete their purchase.

Carolyn Nye

Carolyn Nye

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