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Must-know retail email trends for 2020 and beyond

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Every year, there’s some whisper that email marketing is on the way out. And, just like clockwork, every year, email continues, more vital than ever.

Dollar for dollar, few marketing activities give you more return on investment than email. The reality is email marketing is going to continue being important.

Why?

Because we continue to move things online, and retail is a perfect example of that. Even the smallest of brick and mortar mom and pop shops are using online shopping and email to help drive more sales.

It’s been one of the big retail email trends for 2020, and it’s going to continue in the coming years.

Here are a few of the other trends retailers are going to embrace moving forward.

Use loyalty emails to drive in-store purchases

You probably have some small retail shops in your area that you love. Chances are a few of them also offer loyalty rewards and if you already enjoy shopping or eating there, and signing up is easy.

Now, these small retailers can take that basic loyalty program and make pretty good use of their loyalty email list to create fun rewards that stand out.

Check out this example:

Little Big Burger used an obscure ‘holiday’ to offer its rewards members a deal. Buy a cheeseburger today, and get free truffle fries.

If you’re wondering if something like this works, it did. I put in my order online and then walked down to my local LBB and got my cheeseburger and free fries. Then, because I got the fries for free, I splurged and added a root beer float to the mix.

That simple email sent right before lunch (it hit my inbox at 11:36 am PDT, a great use of geotargeting, by the way) was all it took for me to spend money on something I had no intention of buying at 11:30 am. I was going to have a salad for lunch, I swear…

Use dynamic content to promote products

Chances are pretty high that your customer loves getting news about a sale, especially if it’s about a product or service that they’re already interested in.

This is a great place to use dynamic content blocks in your email. It builds in a bit of anticipation and fear of missing out (FOMO) about the sale because, with dynamic content, your customer’s email will update every time they open it.

So, on the first send, they might be moderately interested in the flash sale. But, let’s say your customer goes back and opens the email again, only to find that now inventory is winding down. Knowing that they might miss out on this product can motivate them to buy.

Retailers can combine this sort of dynamic content with targeted personalization too. Create a segment of your list: customers who have already browsed this item, had it in their shopping cart, or bought something related to it. Then you’re sending emails that feel really targeted to your reader; that’s a good thing.

Use user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is another hot trend that’s only getting hotter, especially for retailers.

UGC can run the range of content; everything from a YouTube unboxing to a TikTok dance can help promote your content. But one big way to take advantage of user-generated content is through reviews and ratings.

Consumers trust the ratings and reviews of other consumers. So when they see that other shoppers just like them have given a bunch of your products five stars or have left compelling positive reviews, that moves them to buy. For many potential customers, if they see someone else thinks your stuff is good, chances are pretty high they will believe they are going to think so too.

Retailers should be mining for as many positive reviews and ratings as possible. Include these emails in your post-purchase campaigns and encourage leaving reviews.

Once you’ve built up a stockpile of them, you can start targeting your customers based on their behavior and data with great reviews on the products they’re interested in buying.

See how it works?

There are a ton of ways retailers can use email to their advantage. These are some of the hottest retail email trends for 2020 and many of them are going to continue into 2021.

The more you find ways to connect with your customers through email, the better off you’ll be, now and into the future.