April 15, 2004, 12:00 AM

Michaels Stores hits 59% e-mail open rate with automated campaign

Michaels Stores Inc.’s new ReCollections chain of scrapbook supplies stores produced a 59% open rate in an automated e-mail campaign, the company says.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor


Michaels Stores Inc.’s new ReCollections chain of scrapbook supplies stores produced a 59% open rate in an automated e-mail campaign, Jeff Hanson, senior manager of Internet services, reports.

The campaign, operated with Empact e-mail marketing software from mUrgent Corp., also produced an opt-out rate of less than 1%, Hanson says, adding that ReCollections saw an increase in store traffic in the first five days after the campaign. The campaign ran during last year’s Christmas holiday shopping season, and Michaels plans to run 15-20 campaigns using Empact this year. Michaels Stores operates two ReCollections stores in Texas but plans to open 10 more this year. It also operates 805 Michaels Stores, offering arts and crafts supplies, 158 Aaron Brothers art shops, 11 Village Crafts stores, two wholesale outlets and two retail web sites, Michaels.com and AaronBrothers.com.

Hanson attributes the success of the ReCollections campaign to the ease of uploading a range of content that would appeal to a broad audience of scrapbook users, along with the ability to automate campaign schedules. “We needed an e-mail marketing package that was easy to use and did not demand a great deal of maintenance,” he says. “Empact made it simple to upload content, manage our distribution lists and schedule our campaign timing quickly.”

Michaels uses Empact software as an application hosted on the web by mUrgent. Michaels accesses the web application to build its distribution lists and schedule e-mail campaigns, but mUrgent provides the engine to distribute the e-mail, an mUrgent spokesman says.

An unexpected bonus of the campaign was the tendency of some recipients to forward the e-mail to friends. One customer forwarded the e-mail to 42 people, Hanson says. Michaels learns about forwarded e-mails through feedback it gets from new customers who call its call center as well as by tracking the number of redeemed e-mail coupons, the mUrgent spokesman says.



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