Thrive Market and Sephora Tie for Top Spot: Thrive Market Wins with an Insights-Driven Approach to Email and Mobile, While Sephora Excels with a Robust Connection Between Online and Offline Channels
Liveclicker, a Marigold brand and the leading personalized marketing automation technology provider for retailers and publishers, announced today the results of the 2022 Retail Personalization Index. Thrive Market, the health-first membership for conscious living, and Sephora, global beauty retailer, have tied for the top spot in the 5th annual analysis. Thrive Market earned high scores for its sophisticated mobile app and email experiences using a data-driven personalization strategy that enriches the entire customer experience. Sephora saw success for its highly orchestrated online and in-store personalization approach based on loyalty and experiential marketing. DSW earned the third spot for its personalized communications during a customer’s first interactions with the brand and an online shopping experience that mirrors the one in store.
With a combination of DTC start-ups and large brick-and-mortar companies at the forefront this year, top performers prove that every type of retailer can use the zero- and first-party data they collect to create highly successful personalization strategies that deliver more value for customers and higher returns for brands.
“Over the past two years, brands have had to focus on short-term gains, whereas consumers have increased their expectations for meaningful personalization both online and in store. That means there is now a lot of work to be done in order for brands to meet these new customer expectations and see successful revenue generation at the same time,” said Jason Grunberg, General Manager at Sailthru. “With more retailers turning to zero- and first-party data strategies to drive the future of marketing, it is more important than ever to create value-driven personalized engagement with customers to collect insights that offer continuously better experiences – and revenue opportunities – across every touchpoint.”
The top five scoring brands in the 2022 Retail Personalization Index are:
“We are thrilled to have been crowned as a top performing brand in this year’s Retail Personalization Index. Personalization is integrated into our entire customer strategy, from the moment someone lands on our webpage, to our ongoing relationship on email and on our app. Our approach to personalization creates incredible value for our members – and drives strong performance for the business,” said Lindsay McGovern, Senior Director of CRM & Lifestyle at Thrive Market. “We see an accelerated first-to-purchase experience, stronger repeat purchase rates, and higher overall lifetime value.”
While Thrive Market dominated the mobile category with its highly intuitive app that is driven by past purchases and preferences, Sephora topped the website category with a robust loyalty-driven experience that makes the beauty retailer’s vast product catalog feel relevant to millions of customers — and seamlessly connects online experiences to in-store shopping.
Email also proved to be a top performing channel for DTC and native digital brands, such as 1stDibs, Wayfair and Fashion Nova, which jumped from 69th in 2021 to 12th place in this year’s overall ranking. Ranked sixth, Fabletics scored highest in email for its advanced product filtering and curated product recommendations among many features. Thrive Market also earned high marks for its email approach, in which the brand delivers an experience that is immediately personalized from onboarding data and continues to integrate even more advanced personalization elements over time. The brand also includes a combination of newsletters and triggered content in its emails that help gather additional insights and drive more sales.
Consumers are aware of the value exchange that drives personalization and favor brands that offer personalized experiences. A study commissioned by Coresight Research and Liveclicker as part of the 2022 Retail Personalization index, found that 71% of consumers will shop more often with brands or retailers that personalize their communications. While the vast majority (98%) of retail marketers use some form of advanced personalization, many are not delivering personalized experiences that live up to consumer expectations. While 71% of retailers think they excel in personalization in marketing, only 34% of consumers agree. It is critically important for retailers to develop more value-driven personalization that encourages true consumer engagement across channels and supports zero- and first-party data collection to support personalized marketing and commerce in the future. There is ample opportunity for retail brands who rise to the challenge, as 80% of consumers noted that they would share data in exchange for deals and offers, while 70% would share data for loyalty points.
A team of researchers calculated the scores of the Retail Personalization Index, which come from a checklist of 80 attributes that a retailer could implement to personalize and/or enhance a customer’s experience across site, email, mobile, other digital channels (which includes in-store, social, and traditional mail), offline, and privacy. The 2022 Retail Personalization Index also includes findings from three surveys:
From the pandemic, to supply chain issues, to big changes from Apple and Google on the near-term horizon, old ways of working have been tossed out the window. Now, marketers are scrambling to innovate and find new, better ways to connect with customers.
And the smartest email experts out there are succeeding by using the combination of automation and first-party data to personalize interactions like never before.
Today’s consumers are savvy online searchers, shoppers, and influencers. They seek out companies that offer the best customer experience and are quick to leave if they don’t get what they want.
In fact, 66% of consumers agree that the pandemic has made them appreciate well-designed technology more than before. And this has put a lot of strain on marketers—including 59% who have already considered quitting their current position at least once over the past year due to all of this added pressure.
Unfortunately, the reality is that the entire digital marketing game is shifting. Planning in annual cycles, relying on cookies to help with targeting, assuming that customers will do what you want them to—these norms are gone.
Now, you need to be more flexible, more agile, and less reliant on big companies so that you can move at the speed of your customers, capture trends, and remain relevant. And while this sounds like a lot of extra work, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can probably achieve all of this with just a few tweaks to what you already have in place.
Download our latest resource—A Marketer’s Guide to Working Smarter Not Harder—to find out how you can add automation and first-party data into your email campaigns for extra flexibility, unlimited scalability, and even more impressive results going forward!
According to its latest blog post, Google is officially delaying its phase out of third-party cookies in Chrome from this year until 2023. For many marketers scrambling to find first-party data solutions, this announcement comes as a much-needed relief.
Because the loss of third-party cookies and tracking mechanisms will likely lead to massive challenges down the road where digital advertising and consumer targeting efforts are concerned. Especially if there’s not a widely adopted alternative in place by the time third-party data tracking finally comes to an end.
So, how does this unexpected delay impact you and your work?
While Google has been hard at work building its Privacy Sandbox, many marketers are skeptical of whether or not this toolset will be enough to make up for the loss of third-party cookies and insights. Even Vinay Goel, Chrome’s Privacy Engineering Director, admits that there’s much work to be done before the organization (and you) are ready to sunset third-party data tracking capabilities forever.
“While there’s considerable progress with [the Privacy Sandbox], it’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right,” said Goel.
However, the organization isn’t simply looking for a quick fix or to replace third-party cookies with an equally invasive form of individual tracking approaches like browser fingerprinting, The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0, or Lotame’s Panorama ID that have been growing more and more popular in media since Google’s original announcement.
Despite this delay, Google continues to develop its next generation of data privacy-friendly marketing tools. If all goes well, expect a new suite of first-party data-driven technologies to be deployed by the end of next year — giving you and marketing experts everywhere nine months to test these tools and migrate services before Google’s three-month phaseout of third-party cookies begins in late 2023.
If it isn’t already obvious, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and start preparing now for life after third-party cookies. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done for many marketers who don’t know where to start. So, here are three easy recommendations you can use to ready your future personalization strategies:
Focus on where you already collect first-party data
It’s never been more important to collect insights directly from your customers. But that doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel — rather than building out new initiatives and campaigns, focus your attention on improving existing efforts like event signups, landing pages, newsletters, and digital subscription forms. That way, you’re able to capture new data points with minimal time and resource investment required!
Always keep consent in mind
This shouldn’t be a new concept after GDPR. But it’s nonetheless an important consideration that is only growing more vital to the ultimate success or failure of your personalized marketing strategy.
Transition to People-Based Targeting
When you combine first-party data with real-time personalization, you’re able to target a desired audience across any channel they engage with. Because people-based marketing doesn’t rely on third-party cookies and tracking mechanisms, it’s an ideal solution for interacting with customers on their own terms.
If you’re interested in building your own people-based marketing strategy, consider these three key elements:
Every retail success starts with data. Whether you’re optimizing marketing messages or managing inventory levels, a foundation built by high-quality, first-party data is key.
But information on its own doesn’t deliver value. If it’s not accurate, actionable, or accessible at the moment it’s needed, it can lead to inefficient business decisions, inaccurate forecasts, and ineffective long-term marketing strategies.
In fact, the challenge of integrating first-party data insights you’ve worked hard to collect from customers into personalized email is creating a two-tier playing field that separates pretenders from true contenders when it comes to retail success:
Today, 62% of retail consumers say it’s important for brands to deliver personalized experiences. And with so many more people searching, shopping, and purchasing products online, real-time personalization has become an invaluable tactic for improving customer engagement, loyalty, and intent to purchase.
But integrating your first-party data doesn’t need to be an expensive or time-consuming process. In fact, here are three things you can start right now to improve your digital marketing results right away:
Take personalization beyond product recommendations. Integrate a personalized content strategy for every customer email. After all, this small change can be particularly useful for retailers with smaller assortments and longer purchase frequency cycles. The combo of first-party data and real-time personalization can even be used to engage and nurture relationships while simultaneously maximizing the value of existing assets like blog and influencer content.
Use personalization behind the scenes. Personalization does not always need to be explicit in order to deliver an effective experience. Identify interest, product, and brand affinities that can help you deliver more relevant content, align your brand with your customers’ values, and deliver a more engaging, exciting customer experience across all channels.
Consumer behavior shifted towards essential goods at the beginning of the pandemic. As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, now is the time for every kind of retailer to prepare their strategies. Personalization does not need to come at the sacrifice of branding or creative efforts. Even the most high-strung luxury shoppers’ expectations can be met with effective segmentation and behavioral strategies that can predict a browser vs a high-intent shopper.
When you combine first-party data profiles with the power of real-time personalization, you get rid of the disconnected experience your marketing team faces anytime a personalized email needs to be built, updated, or sent. Transforming any overly manual, time-consuming legacy processes you use into streamlined project sprints that maximize your productivity and efficiency — and your organization’s email engagement, conversion rate, and revenue generating potential, too.
Now more than ever, it’s important for you to integrate first-party data into your email marketing strategies. Because, as you move closer and closer toward a truly omnichannel customer experience, the insights your customers decide to share with your brand are an invaluable tool for building more relevant and engaging email content, establishing more meaningful customer relationships, and aligning your business with future trends and behaviors that are likely to lead to long-term retail success
Every day, you send and receive an average of 121 promotional emails. But can you remember one you’ve seen recently that stands out in your mind?
For today’s email marketers, that’s the challenge. Sure, breaking through inbox clutter to reach the right person at the right time is a big deal. But there’s no substitute for memorable email messages that move your audience to action.
To maximize the value your real-time personalized marketing efforts deliver, that means first-party data. And not just lots of it, either—your insights need to be used in a way that personalizes content at the moment of engagement to deliver the most relevant, interesting, and valuable interaction possible to every recipient.
After all, you spend a ton of time making sure your ESP’s customer data profiles are accurate. Why not use them to drive your customer experience forward and step up your email marketing game at the same time?
Results may vary, but here are four real-world examples prove the combined power of first-party data and real-time personalization make your messages stand out. So you can grow engagement and revenue with every send—no matter how much competition you face.
Users who have just offered up their email address are likely expecting a welcome email. So, why not take advantage of this opportunity by using the most up-to-date information possible in your brand interactions?
Real-Time personalization taps into your customer profiles to not only serve the freshest, most interesting messaging available at the moment of engagement—but dynamically updates, hides, and/or replaces content in case anything changes between the time you send your email and someone opens it.
The Washington Post created a personalized email onboarding experience for its paid subscribers that not only introduces them to the brand, but prioritizes the collection of specific first-party data points about their preferences and news interests through fun, interactive embedded polling features.
That way, The Washington Post can recommend highly targeted email newsletters and content to every follower and track trending topics in real-time—ensuring a connected, loyal audience of everyday newsletter readers that are much more likely to convert into paid subscribers down the road.
For many customers—especially those who are shopping primarily online as a result of the pandemic—the internet is awash with abandoned shopping carts. But just because a buyer lost interest doesn’t mean you should call it quits.
Abandoned carts, previously browsed items, or even items your subscribers have clicked in previous emails all provide future opportunities for email communication and potential conversion. Especially if you can bring first-party data insights like purchase history, brand preferences, and recently browsed categories into these messages to give shoppers timely, hard-to-ignore product recommendations and offers.
When online retailer JustFab adopted dynamic recommendations based on the abandoned cart and previously browsed item data stored in its ESP into its real-time email personalization elements, it achieved a 50% increase in email conversion rates. Not to mention a 46% decrease in customer churn on top of that.
The original Morning Brew email newsletter has long been the gold standard when it comes to email engagement rates. So when the brand wanted to promote its niche newsletters, such as Marketing Brew, Morning Brew maximized its two best assets: The newsletter subscribers already open and love every morning, and the first-party data they’ve already submitted to Morning Brew.
To promote Marketing Brew to its nearly two million subscribers at the time, Morning Brew included a personalized plug that sat in the newsletter’s top spot and dynamically changed based on each subscriber’s individual story preferences, newsletter subscriptions, and recent website browsing behaviors at the moment of engagement—making Marketing Brew’s launch impossible to ignore regardless of interest.
All-too-often, brands spend too much time and energy focusing on personalization and what they know about buyers on their emails instead of what happens afterwards. Think about it: there’s nothing more disappointing than being served a ‘just for you’ promotion only to find a generic store page staring back at you through the screen after you’ve made the mistake of clicking.
Real-Time personalization is a commitment that goes beyond any single channel, meaning the data you collect across every interaction makes your next message even more engaging. Your content needs to be tailored to individual needs and preferences at every step, and by adding first-party customer data profiles directly into your ESP’s template and campaign builder experience you ensure that occurs. Otherwise, your followers won’t see the value of submitting their personal information or increasing their engagement level with the brand going forward.
That’s why Food Network uses past behavior and a wealth of info collected across digital channels to deliver trending recipes, articles, programming recommendations, and more directly to its subscribers’ inbox. Every email adds value to their audience interactions by using first-party data to deliver exceptional user experiences.