Quick Wins: How live product feeds save time and increase email revenue
62% of marketers say that lack of resources is the reason they don’t have time to pursue more personalisation in their email strategies.
One of the key reasons why resources are an issue is that so much of the marketer’s time is spent manually producing email content, and in particular, selecting product content for emails.
In this article we explain how there is a different approach to building product-promoting emails, using existing data feeds of products, holidays, news stories or other content to automate the production of content, dramatically reducing the amount of time required to produce emails. In addition, this method also opens up new personalisation opportunities without any extra effort.
Using product feeds and adding personalisation to the image content is a quick-win in multiple ways, as it gives more time to marketers to not only produce content that is personalised to each customer, but allows marketers to add products automatically instead of manually, and those which are most meaningful to the recipient, which ultimately increases email revenue while reducing production costs.
What is a product feed?
A product feed is a list of products, holidays, news stories or other information an eCommerce store typically creates in order to “tell” shopping channels such as Google Shopping or Amazon, what products are sold so that those products will show up on the channels when prospective customers search for specified products.
The product feed, in an Excel, .txt, .xml file, product feed management tool, or API, becomes the source of data for personalised email products, eliminating the need to manually add products to not only save time but also open up additional revenue opportunities with personalisation. One template product creative can then be used to create any number of variations from your data feed rather than manually building each one.
This example for TV shopping channel JewelleryMaker shows how the feed from their TV guide is used to automatically create their email content:
Benefits of personalised live product feeds in email
Chad White of Litmus says, “Two-thirds of consumers say they’ve unsubscribed from brands that send them too many and irrelevant emails, according to research by Litmus and Fluent. Indeed, it’s the most common reason that consumers unsubscribe. Unfortunately, it’s also the top reason that consumers report emails as spam. So, sending one-size-fits-all emails not only fails to boost engagement, it’s a risk in terms of both list churn and deliverability”.
In line with that, personalised product feeds, especially for eCommerce businesses, are no longer a nice-to-have, but are becoming critical.
The benefits of using personalised live product feeds include:
Automate a tedious manual process
By building from the data source that’s already in place to fulfill another process, you only need to create one template rather than manually build each product or piece of content in Photoshop or HTML.
This of course saves that initial time, but it also means that any changes such as price, automatically feed into the content, and any change requests as part of the signoff process are much quicker to do. Ultimately you gain more time for the overstretched design and coding team, allowing them to build more emails and generate more revenue as a result.
Automatically updated content
Traditionally, automated emails such as welcome or winback campaigns don’t include any product content. To do so would create a maintenance nightmare as you would need to constantly update them as products and prices change.
However, if you are using a product feed to populate the email, this will automatically update the content for you, opening up new possibilities for automated campaigns.
Easily personalise products
In most ESP’s you can’t personalise product content unless you write lots of manual dynamic content rules. However, due to automation, it’s easy to personalise products to each individual customer, with no need to create any rules. This way you not only save time, but for no extra effort can personalise every email, increasing conversions and revenue.
Content refreshes at open
Platforms like Reignite that support creation of content from data feeds will also refresh that content at the moment of open, not when the email is sent. This means that if any prices change, they will immediately be updated for the customer. If products go out of stock, the product images are replaced by others.
If you want to show the very latest new products, as soon as they are on your site, they will also appear in emails.
Live urgency & social proof messaging
As the content displayed is in real-time, this also presents opportunities to display additional messaging to persuade customers. This might be highlighting if only a few items are left in stock, showing how many people are looking at the item right now, or how many have been purchased today.
Another benefit of using real-time content is that you can also take into account the context of how the user is opening the email. For example; if they open the email where it is raining, the customer can be shown different products compared to those who are opening the email in a sunny location.
Or travel deals can be based upon where the nearest airport is to the client; all calculated in real-time.
How others use live product feeds in emails
Just added products
“Just added” items are an important merchandising tool for some stores. With live product feeds, these are added once to your template and refreshed automatically at the point of open. This is ideal for automated messages you don’t want to continually update.
Automated sale items
Retailers and travel brands often avoid displaying products in sale campaigns due
to the limited stock available and the risk of it selling out before customers even get to open the email. With a live product feed this is negated, because if the chosen item sells out, another one is automatically displayed in its place.
Using a live feed allows personalisation of the products shown without any complex dynamic content rules, and based upon the customer’s past order history or stated preferences such as style and brands.
Handpick & automate
Handpick a list of items to include, including backups if the products chosen are sold out. As each product is inserted automatically, it saves production time, plus the price is always live and the products will be automatically swapped if there’s a stock issue.
3 examples of companies who used product feeds to personalise emails
With many sale products only having stock in 2 or 3 sizes, Jones Bootmaker traditionally didn’t include products in emails. However, with the use of a live product feed, products could be included if there was still stock available in the customer’s size.
Fitness brand Frame includes a live personalised timetable in every email that displays the next available classes in the customer’s favourite studio and genres.
Coach tour operator Diamond Holidays were able to target customers that still had availability and were set for departure in the next 2 weeks. If a tour sold out it would be
hidden in the email. In addition, tours were only shown where the coach departure point was
within 10 miles of the customer’s home location. Booking rates were 3 times that of generic email.
Any business that sells online products can utilise live product feeds in their email marketing. Doubling up product feeds as the data source to promote personalised products, saves time and increases email revenue, making it a quick win and effortless.
If you’re looking for more marketing quick-wins, you’ll want to download our “Quick Wins for Marketers” whitepaper which goes into detail about how to include quick and easy ways to increase the impact of your emails.
Alternatively, request a demo to find out more about how the Reignite platform works with live product feeds to automate personalised product images.