Retail Reality – Expert Advice for Navigating Your Journey to the Inbox

The COVID-19 crisis posed very different challenges for email marketers, depending on their vertical. In retail, which faced store closures and a customer base restricted to their homes, we saw a load of resilience as companies relied on email to keep their businesses moving.
It worked! As operations moved online, customers followed. New account sign-ups increased 2.5x and even re-engagement rates were up as lapsed customers came back to purchase.

With no sign of digital adoption slowing down, next week we’ll host a webinar titled, “Journey to the Inbox – Retail Reality,” which I will moderate, along with three other email experts and a customer guest speaker.

Set in our traditional panel format, guests will discuss digital success metrics and the challenges that going digital can pose.

Our speakers include:

  • Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA, who will provide retail-specific insights from our joint Validity-DMA report titled, “Email Deliverability: A Journey into the Inbox.”
  • Validity’s own Director of Professional Services, Gabriel Gastaud, who will be on hand to share his analysis of the vital role email plays in delivering retail web traffic.
  • Kate Barrett, an email marketing consultant who will round out the expert panel with her wide-ranging experience from her years advising companies large and small to improve their email marketing performance.

The webinar will also feature Deliverability Manager Magnus Eén from online home and living retailer Westwing as our customer guest speaker. Founded in 2011, Westwing is now present in 11 European countries, where it works to inspire its customers every day with the newest home and living trends and products. With email being such a vital part of Westwing’s marketing program, Magnus plays a critical role in the company’s success.

Here’s a quick Q&A with Magnus for a sneak peek into what to expect next week:

[GH] With COVID-19, businesses really had to jump in the deep-end of the digital pool. How did Westwing adapt?
[ME] Being an online-only business meant we had very little to change technically. Probably the biggest challenge was for our staff making the transition to working from home. Especially for our content team – we have a huge photo studio which had to rapidly figure out new operating systems.

[GH] Were there any digital learnings that proved to be more business-critical than expected?
[ME] The biggest surprise was the huge shift toward online shopping…which we benefitted from. We’ve also seen a big uplift in new registrations, too, as traditionally offline consumers have moved online.

[GH] Has the crisis prompted Westwing to offer any new digitally driven services?
[ME] Again, not much needed to change because Westwing has always been set up to be an online retailer. We did, however, need to scale up because of increased business, especially for our customer care team.

[GH] Now that physical stores are slowly opening up again, how important is your email program in maximising business performance for the rest of 2020?
[ME] Probably our biggest challenge is that many countries are offering “shopping money” incentives to stimulate spending activity, and this could attract shoppers back to traditional brick and mortar retailers. Our big opportunity is that significantly more people are now exposed to our email newsletters, which will continue to drive traffic to our websites.

[GH] What do you think will be the biggest challenge for retailers and their email programs throughout the rest of 2020?
[ME] Two things: 1) For senders like us, a key challenge will be to keep the new subscribers happy and engaged. They were almost obliged to sign up because of the big move online, so their trust now needs to be earned retrospectively. 2) Because of this, senders will need to be flexible.

Join us next week to learn much more from me, Magnus Eén, Tim Bond, Gabriel Gastaud, and Kate Barrett at the “Journey to the Inbox – Retail Reality” webinar on Tuesday, 30th June. The discussion will start at 3:00 p.m. for our European attendees, 2:00 p.m. for the UK, and 9:00 a.m. for our US-based East Coasters.

With a world class group of presenters, this webinar will set you up for email success for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.

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