Can Retail Email Ever Catch Up with Digital Media in Terms of Personalization?

Let’s be honest, the digital media sector is miles ahead of retail in terms of personalized content.

Platforms like Netflix, Apple Music, Spotify, and others have surpassed retailers in how they personalize content for their audiences.

As a general rule, digital platforms do a great job of curating content their users will love. This can be attributed to the vast amount of first-party data collected from users and the significant amount of time many users spend on each of the platforms.

In a study cited by the BBC on the effects of pandemic-related lockdowns on streaming services, respondents reported spending 45 hours per week watching TV and streaming video. The time on platforms like Netflix, YouTube, etc. provides a massive data pool to draw from, providing tons of inputs for machine personalization.

As a result, Disney Plus, Netflix, and others have cultivated a strong sense of consumer loyalty. When customers look at their feed and see content curated on a personal, 1:1 basis, they feel an emotional attachment to the platform.

On the retail side, it is more complicated. Most customers aren’t making purchases or even browsing each week, let alone for hours at a time. Retailers can’t get the same quality or quantity of data from a three-minute browsing session as digital streaming platforms obtain in 45 hours per week.

Beyond that, as an email marketer, 80% of your emails go unopened, meaning that although you may have millions of email subscribers, you’re still not getting as much data as digital platforms, and most of the data you do get is from high-engagement customers. The same thing happens when you use transactional data to personalize – most customers are only shopping a few times per year.

It means marketers have to be smart and opportunistic, using the data they do get to its greatest potential. The problem is that marketing teams don’t have the time to sort through millions of data points to find what’s relevant and make actionable recommendations for each and every customer to visit their site.

This is where machine learning comes in. By using technology to sort through the data and personalize digital content for each customer, marketing teams can eliminate the tedious work of managing multiple audiences across different sends and updating custom segments as customers move between different groups.

They can then begin optimizing the content each customer receives–when they receive that content, where it’s placed in the email, and how often they receive email–all in the context of driving more conversion for each customer. These capabilities allow marketers to move away from uneffective batch-and-blast email sends that lead to email fatigue and don’t give your customers the best content.

For retailers, high-quality content resonates with customers at a personal level. The question that arises is: how do you know what each customer will like best?

Retailers can accurately determine what pieces of content will be high-impact among certain demographics and interest segments by using a ranking system that measures the predicted performance of each piece of creative content that goes into their email campaign.

It enables retailers to personalize their email campaigns on a 1:1 basis, at scale, to outflank the competition.

The intuitive and easy-to-use platform provided by Movable Ink enables email marketers to create content based on individual behavior, contextual data, third-party insights, and business logic. This personalized content gives consumers the most consistent, relevant, and on-brand experience at the moment of engagement.

Coherent Path’s machine learning-powered predictive analytics software identifies content relevant to a customer right now. It surfaces products, offers, and editorial messages across an optimal sequence of email sends. Content can be reused within an ongoing feedback loop to test and determine its value, giving retailers the most accurate rating before they hit “send”.

Together, Movable Ink and Coherent Path enable retailers to automatically create and deliver the right blend of content for each individual customer in real-time. This allows retailers to maximize the ROI from each piece of content while increasing engagement over time.

So, can retail catch up with the level of personalization delivered by streaming platforms? This is left to be seen but, at the very least, retailers can do a better job than right now.

Retailers can begin to make up some ground by taking advantage of Coherent Path’s integration with Movable Ink. By using machine learning and predictive analytics to personalize their creative content, retailers can achieve a high degree of 1:1 personalization. Stop looking to digital media as an unattainable standard for personalized content; be a trailblazer and forge your own path.

About Coherent Path

Coherent Path is the email marketing calendar company for top retailers seeking to transform their email programs into a modern data-driven channel focused on revenue. Our machine learning solution empowers retailers with the relevant themes and categories that they should feature in today’s campaigns while continuously learning to inform the campaigns of tomorrow.

By creating an optimized email diet that caters to each customer’s evolving tastes and moods, Coherent Path helps retailers quickly engage and cross-sell customers and promote strategic product categories while reducing email fatigue.Headquartered in Boston, MA. with offices in Toronto, ON, Coherent Path works with retail leaders like Bloomingdale’s and The Gap. For more information, visit their website, follow them on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.