Each week, the experts on our strategic services team summarize articles and trends they’re seeing for our clients. We think they’re fascinating — and bet you will too! Here is a peek into what they’ve been talking about lately.
We continue to monitor a sample of U.S. retail brands that have mailed during the past 8 weeks to provide insights about email activity during the pandemic.
Open rates experienced a tiny variance of -2% in the most recent week; 16% above the rate obtained the same week in 2019. Click rates increased 10% in the week of March 22nd, scoring the highest rate from the analyzed weeks year-over-year. Engagement seems to recover at 13% compared to the previous week, although it continues to score below the average values seen in 2019.
When looking at the behavior of online sales, this week we see a steady performance compared to the week of March 15th. Transaction rates grew 1% week-over-week; 21% below the rate obtained in 2019 year-over-year. Revenue per email showed a -1% variance when compared to the week of March 15th; a -17% drop when compared to 2019 year-over-year.
Year-over-year weekly mailing volume
The overall volume, from 2/2 through 3/31 for our sampled brands, has increased 7% in 2020 compared to 2019. Total volume does not tell the full story, as each week more than 32% of brands had lower volume in 2020 than the comparable week in 2019. In the week of March 22nd, 14% of brands had no mailings at all.
In the first two weeks of March, as the pandemic spread in the U.S., 27% of brands sent mailings that were over 50% higher in volume than those sent in 2019.
Cheetah Digital | Creative responses to the pandemic and 5 things brands should not be doing
Brands from CPG to restaurants to entertainment are responding in creative and helpful ways to serve their customers and employees; plus, 5 things brands should really avoid doing right now.
Digital Commerce 360 | Most retailers aren't mentioning the coronavirus by name in email marketing
Retailers like King Kong Apparel, Fracture and iHeartRaves are trying to keep their marketing messages positive during the coronavirus pandemic.
Marketing Dive | Consumers believe brands can lead coronavirus response, but demand practical solutions
Interest in hearing from celebrity or influencer ambassadors is "deeply discounted" at the moment, according to a special brand trust report by Edelman, and 57% of respondents reported wanting brands to stop all humorous or light-hearted marketing and advertising.
Retail Dive | Tracking retail’s response to the coronavirus
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, several companies have taken action, including temporarily closing stores and reducing hours.
Giant Tiger — #ThankYou
Giant Tiger encourages its audience to post messages of gratitude and appreciation in the comments on its social media pages to the heroes in the communities across the country. The brand states it will then make a selection from the ones received to be resent by email to help spread the word. This campaign generates a sense of kindness and unity to overcome these difficult times collectively and to serve as a mechanism to build brand awareness and stay connected.
American Eagle — Today's schedule ☕💻💤
American Eagle combines a message of self-care with some shopping ideas that go along with hunkering down these days. The campaign uses a day-schedule format that attempts to pique curiosity and read through while showcasing product suggestions for each task. Brands can benefit from adapting email content to sympathize with their customers’ current needs and strive to maintain engagement and conversion rates.
Tee Public — Spread the word, not the virus
TeePublic supports the community of independent artists during the pandemic with all purchases made through its website. The brand utilizes an existing blog entry to inform the audience about additional ways to collaborate; exposing the readers who click through to content from other channels, in pursuit of new opportunities to engage them. The catchy subject line: “Spread the Word, Not the Virus” attempts to trigger opens, since it’s become a frequent quote to refer to social initiatives to prevent/fight against COVID-19.
Coffee Bean — Send your friends some 💜💜
Coffee Bean prompts subscribers to connect with friends and family from afar. The featured products are a special edition to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic series Friends; aiming to grow interest and generate a sense of exclusiveness. The brand encourages readers to schedule virtual coffee/tea dates to enjoy its products while discovering new ways to feel close to others. An emotional approach that strives to engage the audience from a meaningful standpoint.
West Elm — 🙌 Split your shopping
West Elm alleviates the fear of spending during this volatile time by emphasizing its Buy Now, Pay Later service with Affirm. Free virtual design services are also highlighted for customers to continue planning their space from the safety of their homes.
March seemed to drag on forever. But now it’s a new month, and with it, a new cause to celebrate.
Shape up your space
We’ve seen brands lean into the idea of being home more - from building out a home office to updating decor and more.
April Fool’s Day
While brand seemed to steer clear of big pranks this year (for good reason!), some used April Fool’s Day to promote a discount, no fooling.
Sometimes you need a distraction from all that’s going on — and florals and spring do just that! We’ve seen more signs of warmer temps in our inbox this past week.
Brands such as Target are open as essential workplaces during this time, and are looking to recruit more employees. They’re turning to texts and mobile-first websites to keep up with demand and meet prospective employees where they are - on their phones.
Delivery and takeout
While restaurants might be closed for dining in, they are certainly open for delivery and takeout options. We’ve seen more brands leverage their databases for texting, offering free delivery and other options to sway hungry customers. This is a great reason to implement a loyalty program and grow your database - so that when you need to text your audience, you have the data.
At home comfort
We’re at home more, and we’re seeing more retailers use texting and mobile-first sites to sell their comfortable options. Even if we’re just changing from one pair of sweatpants to another!
COVID-19 response and information
Texting your audience about important information is a great way to get the word out — particularly if it’s life-changing. We’ve written about the benefits of SMS and governments in NYC, Chicago, and Massachusetts have all used it in the past week to inform citizens about happenings. The Red Cross is using it too.
Want to see more? We’re happy to help and talk about how we can best work together.
Brittany Luebke is a Content Marketing Strategist at Cheetah Digital. You can find her writing through our corporate social media channels, so follow Cheetah Digital on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. She has worked with email marketing programs since 2007, and her work has won awards from dotComm, Hermes Creative, and MarCom, as well as recognition from Really Good Emails.