Retailers: Certification is a Holiday Response Booster

Stephanie Miller, email marketing expert
By Stephanie Miller
VP, Global Market Development

Retailers enjoy some of the lowest complaint rates in the business. Perhaps this is because of the “shopper mentality” among consumers. Many like to be treated like VIPS or insiders when it comes to sales and new product lines, and so even the high frequency (up to 10+ messages per week during the holidays) doesn’t seem to drive a lot of complaints for retailers with strong brand affinity.

Problem is, it doesn’t drive that much response, either. Sending more messages is not enough. The messages must offer more value.

I spoke at the Shop.org Annual Summit this week and met with dozens of retailers who are doing great things to strengthen their brand relationships through social and multi channel experiences. Email is such an integral part of the ecommerce equation, so it’s well past time to take it off auto pilot and start to improve relevancy through segmentation and added value.

I blogged about this at the Shop.org site. Let me know what your thoughts are – and if you’d like a copy of the full presentation.

In conversations with retailers about how to improve relevancy, one thing is very clear. Reaching the inbox is critical for all messages, and particularly for transactions, gift cards and in-store event invites.

If your sender reputation is high, you may qualify for Certification – which is like being in the high occupancy lane of the freeway. You still have to obey the traffic laws if you want to arrive safely (and legally), but you get to bypass a lot of the slower traffic and enjoy rapid access to your destination: The inbox.

Being certified means getting on the public whitelists of the major ISPs like AOL and Yahoo! and Hotmail, but also considering third party certification like our Return Path Certification program. You’ll see higher inbox deliverability as well as increased response, since images and links are on by default with many ISPs. Take our pre-qualification quiz to see if you might be eligible.

What are you doing this holiday season to reach the inbox and be more relevant? Let me know in the comments section below.

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