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Birkenstock Central Boosts Conversions, Engagement With Behavioral-Triggered Email Campaigns

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Shopping cart abandonment is an ongoing struggle for a majority of today’s retailers. Between the rise of price-comparison apps and the influx of price and item information available at consumers’ fingertips across channels, retailers are challenged to pique consumer interest and maintain it throughout the browsing and buying journey to order completion.

Birkenstock Central, an independent U.S. eTailer of Birkenstock products, suffered severely from shopping cart abandonment: nearly half (47%) of its shoppers left their digital carts without completing a purchase. After partnering with Listrak, a full-service email marketing solution provider, the web-only footwear retailer addressed specific consumer behaviors with targeted messages, which helped boost abandonment conversions by 20.8%.

The retailer’s email campaign programs include product-specific communications timed and tailored to consumer behaviors and preferences — all based on detailed transaction data — that drive engagement, action and reviews.

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Birkenstock Central’s partnership with Listrak has evolved since 2010 to include its most recent program enhancement: In April 2012, the retailer launched an email program focused on increasing item reviews and recommendations on its site. When the targeted email is opened, it clicks through to the Birkenstock Central e-Commerce site and creates a seamless referral creation and sharing experience. “This reviews-based email strategy also gives customers the option to post a review to their Facebook pages, which is extremely beneficial from a branding perspective,” said Jim Moore, Founder, President and CEO of Birkenstock Central. “Since the new program’s launch, 3% of customers that post a review on the Birkenstock Central e-Commerce site share it on Facebook.”

The new email campaign sends a message to shoppers that completed a purchase within the last six months; this frequency will be increased to purchases made within the previous 21 days.

The retailer has received “some interesting and informative reviews,” Moore told Retail TouchPoints. “Overall, the response has been great, which helps with our search engine optimization and also encourages buying decisions.”

Improving Relevancy And Click-through Rates
The merchant’s relationship with Listrak kicked off in the fall of 2010 when Birkenstock Central rolled out a series of email campaigns to increase overall purchase rates on its online storefront. The retailer implemented a five-message chain tailored to shoppers who abandoned their shopping carts, a three-message welcome series, and a restock reminder campaign. All emails featured personalized content and images based on customer data, which improved relevancy and boosted click-through rates, according to Moore.

Within the shopping cart abandonment campaign, which garnered a 20.8% average conversion rate, the first message is sent three hours after abandonment occurs; it says: “Thanks for stopping by, your items are waiting for you.” The second message, sent three days later, offers an additional reminder of items left in a cart, and the third message includes a 5% off incentive to encourage purchase completion. By utilizing personalization and dynamic content based on abandoned items, as well as overall browsing behavior, the retailer is able to identify and reach individual customer effectively.

“Retailers need to utilize email marketing strategies that extend beyond average batch-and-blast messages,” Moore said. “Although this strategy still can be powerful, personalization adds a new and powerful element. Email that is not appropriate for the recipient will always be a bad thing. It’s strange that some retailers still are using incorrect names and personalization strategies, which frustrates customers and sends messages straight to the trash.”

Personalization also is an integral part of the footwear retailer’s three-part welcome series for new sign-ups, which achieved an 18.16% average conversion rate. The first email, which offers shoppers a free pair of socks, acquired a 50.28% conversion, while a pop-up version of the message on the site generated a 23.33% rate. The second message shares important information regarding purchases, such as return and exchange policies, while the third message promotes other services the eTailer provides, such as shoe repair.

“Our welcome series lets shoppers get familiar with our brand, primary goals and messages, and our offerings and services,” Moore said. “This tactic shows that we’re the ideal source for all things Birkenstock and really helps consumers get engaged.”

To keep shoppers interested, even when items are temporarily unavailable, Birkenstock Central’s restock reminder campaign sends messages to consumers that wanted a product that was out of stock. These timely reminders affected a 36.26% conversion rate. All email messages, subject lines and images are customized based on the size and color of specific item.

All of Birkenstock Central’s behavioral-triggered emails connect to its store and are tailored to be very specific to a product and the customer: messages name the item, provide a description and an image of the item purchased, and a link to the review page.

“Emails that are product-specific and tailored to consumer preferences drive action,” Moore said. “Listrak’s email marketing tools allow us to access all of our transaction information and craft messaged based on that data to ensure customization. We’ll be leveraging this ability even more in the near future.”

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