5 Personalized Email Marketing Campaign Ideas for Retail

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

With the average office worker receiving an overwhelming 121 emails every day, it’s not hard to see why many businesses are trading email for SMS, social media and other forms of digital advertising in an effort to increase brand visibility. But the bleak “email is dead” myth is about as accurate as that of the retail apocalypse. Neither are dead, just changing, and the numbers say to stay: 73% of millennials — the current highest-spending generation — still prefer business communications to come via email.
To stand out in overcrowded inboxes, brands must create personalized content for different segments of their customer base. “Batch and blast” email marketing is no longer a good option. Segmented campaigns have a 101% higher click-through and 14% higher open rate over non-segmented campaigns. And customers want this kind of outreach: 83% say they’re willing to share personal data to receive more personalized communications. 
Today’s cloud point of sale platforms make it easy to collect customer data, but the intimidating part can be acting on it. Here are a few ways to put that data to work in a personalized email strategy that will give your store an edge. 

Below we discuss the most effective email marketing campaign ideas and strategies to keep your retail customers coming back for more.

1. Send new customers a welcome email.

Let’s start with an easy one: An automated welcome email sent to new customers after their first purchase. This is a great place to include your social media handles, values or brand story and perhaps a time-sensitive discount code for a future visit. 
Consider creating different mailing lists and content for unique audience segments so you aren’t hitting recipients with irrelevant communications or promotions, prompting them to go right for that dreaded “unsubscribe” button. For example, if you sell mens, womens and childrenswear, ask customers to opt in to their preferred categories. Doing so can also open marketing opportunities that your sales data didn’t pick up on: Perhaps a new customer only shopped for herself today, but she has a baby niece due next month, ready for spoiling.

2. Get personal with location-based messaging.

If there’s one thing people love to bond over, it’s the weather. When you segment your customer lists by region, you can play into that. This is especially helpful if you have multiple locations across the country. A week of thunderstorms on the Midwest’s forecast? Entice them to shop online in safety and comfort.  A week of thunderstorms on the Jersey Shore’s forecast? Remind them that a shopping day is a great beach day replacement.
This concept can be applied at a more micro level as well. For example, many of Cape Cod’s towns celebrate different heritage days, holiday strolls and summer festivals. When you break down your customer list by their most frequently visited store(s), you can offer unique promotions by location, while reinforcing your place in their local community. The same business may give its Osterville customers a gift with purchase on Osterville Village Day, while its Nantucket customers are offered 20% off all yellow merchandise during Daffodil Weekend.

Be sure to collect zip codes at the POS to segment customers by location.


3. Borrow user-generated content for “As Seen On” emails

User-generated content (UGC) has become increasingly popular, and for good reason: 79% of consumers say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. Salesforce research shows that UGC drives a 73% increase in email click-through rates. When you include photos of real customers using or wearing your products, you boost authenticity and build trust. Plus, it takes pressure off of you — no need for another proprietary photoshoot!
Need more content? Consider inviting customers to submit a photo with their post-purchase review, or holding a contest encouraging them to post on Instagram. 
Again, it’s important to consider your audience-segmented lists when crafting these emails. A 30-year-old man likely won’t be interested in college dorm decor, and a 30-year-old woman probably won’t be purchasing anything for her man-cave.

4. Rescue abandoned carts.

Most e-commerce platforms allow you to send automated emails to customers who have left items in their cart, and with an average of 70% of consumers abandoning said carts, you’re likely missing out on significant revenue if you haven’t turned these on. Check out our partner Big Commerce’s list of creative abandoned cart recovery strategies, and look into implementing this low-hanging fruit ASAP!

5. Re-engage customers post-purchase

Post-purchase emails allow you to stay top-of-mind, upsell recent customers and reclaim churned ones. They can include things like complementary products, use cases, offers or just relevant content marketing. A few of our favorites:
  • Apparel store: Share ways to style their recently purchased dress, and include links to other relevant products.
  • Home or gift store: Send a sample recipe from a cookbook you sell (and a link to buy) after they purchase a piece of kitchenware. 
  • Running store: Compile a list of upcoming local races and running clubs.  
  • Shoe store: Share a roundup of other shoes designed by a vendor they just purchased from.
  • All retail: Re-engage lost customers with an incentive and look at what’s new online or in-store. Many of them may have kept their distance because of COVID-19, so you can also take this opportunity to remind them of safety precautions your store is taking (contactless payments, limited capacity, masks required, etc.). 

Identify all of these customers through POS reporting. Sophisticated systems will allow you to run customer and sales reports all the way down to the item level, as well as last purchase date. Export these lists and import to your preferred email marketing platform.

One thing all of these campaigns require is clean data and powerful reporting, both found in your point of sale. You should be able to identify your newest, oldest and at-risk customers in seconds. You should also be able to identify your most frequent visitors, biggest sale shoppers, serial returners and all men who purchased brown shoes on sale in Boston on March 1, 2020 (hey, you never know when there will be a need!).
Personalized email marketing is also made easier when your POS has a built-in CRM and customer dashboards that integrate with loyalty and email software. Learn more about Heartland Retail’s CRM features in this quick demo:


Heartland is the point of sale, payment processing, and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at heartland.us