In our recent “Next Big Thing” webinar we brought together a cross section of Validity’s community—email marketing, data quality, and sales performance— to review the events of 2020 and preview 2021. This made for a fascinating conversation, and one area our expert guests were in full consensus was the rapid rise in email’s use of interactive elements that enhance customer experience and deliver increased engagement.
eFocus Marketing’s Kate Barrett described how McDonalds used an email carousel to view the full range of Happy Meal toys. Any parent of young children understands the force of nature that is “pester power” and the ability to preview the preferred toy will absolutely increase purchase likelihood… if only to keep the peace!
Recently I wrote how the COVID-19 pandemic provided a catalyst for innovation as businesses were forced to respond to the completely changed circumstances they were operating in. Emerging technologies were fast-tracked as email senders grappled with new challenges posed by reduced inventory, store closures (or changed hours), and subscribers who wanted to be empathised with, not sold to!
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) has driven spam filtering and fraud prevention solutions for a while now, but 2020 saw an explosion in other applications, with senders now using AI for send-time optimisation, engagement prediction, best offer selection, better personalisation, and next-best channel identification.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) was the breakthrough technology of 2020, allowing senders to include components delivering rich engaging experiences by making modern app functionality available within the emails. Using this technology effectively brings website UX into the inbox, with functionality like drop-down lists, carousels, and customer surveys.
- Locked-down consumers were unable to visit many physical shops, and some brands innovated by using Augmented Reality (AR) to bring traditionally in-store experiences directly to subscribers’ inboxes. MAC cosmetics encouraged customers to use digital tools to virtually try on eye shade and lipstick products, while Ray-Ban customers could virtually see if they look better in Aviators or Wayfarers.
Our expert guests were clear accelerated interactivity will go mainstream in 2021, as companies seek to maintain high subscriber engagement and bring in-store experiences to customers’ inboxes. The good news for senders is that they will also benefit from a performance dividend.
When Validity customer eBay implemented Phrasee (an AI-powered copywriting technology) to optimise subject line and headline copy, it saw a click rate uplift of 42% from doing so.
Magnus Eén explained how Westwing’s positioning as a carefully curated online magazine intentionally mirrors their customers’ lifestyles (examples below), with 80% of purchases coming from repeat buyers. He’s highly enthused about adopting AMP to introduce new functionality like embedded surveys to further enhance Westwing’s customer-first philosophy.
This also highlights the important role accelerated interactivity will play creating customer loyalty by providing richer and more personalized email experiences. Survivors in pandemic-stricken sectors like the restaurant industry have only done so because their customers have kept the faith. Loyalty has traditionally been underpinned by 1:1 human interactions (“Moments that matter”, to borrow from Reachdesk’s Alex Olley) but accelerated interactivity means highly granular personalization is now much more achievable – at scale.
Want to hear more predictions for 2021? Join us on January 13 for our next State of Email Live webinar where I’ll be joined by six of my Validity colleagues from around the world as we gaze into our crystal balls to figure out what the year has in store for us!
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