January 26, 2012, 10:35 AM

Targeted e-mails bolster GourmetGiftBaskets.com’s conversion rates

The click-through rate also rose.

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Before online gifts retailer GourmetGiftBaskets.com began working with digital marketing software vendor Knotice last fall, the retailer didn’t have a single universal profile for its customers. Instead, it housed different databases for its e-mail and catalog lists. That meant its understanding of customers’ shopping behaviors was incomplete, says Jason Bergeron, director of sales and marketing for GourmetGiftBaskets.com, No. 452 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

But now it does have a complete view of each customer’s buying history, he says. That enables the retailer to know when, for instance, a shopper placed an order via its catalog, and then later bought again on its web site. Because so much of the retailer’s business is holiday-driven it can use that information to target shoppers with e-mails based on when they made their previous purchases, says Bergeron. “We know that shoppers are more likely to buy a gift around the same time that they did in the past,” he says. “This enables us to know when they actually made all their purchases.”

GourmetGiftBaskets.com launched Knotice’s EmailPlus offering in September, just prior to the start of the holiday season, which is traditionally when the retailer sends out the heaviest concentration of e-mail messages. By sending more messages to consumers who have bought during the holiday season the retailer’s conversion rate on e-mails rose nearly 10%, says Bergeron.

In part, that’s because the percentage of e-mails that led to clicked-throughs to GourmetGiftBaskets.com rose at least 50%. Bergeron believes that’s because far fewer messages are landing in consumers’ junk mail folders. “A lot more people are clicking through to come to our site after seeing an e-mail than did before,” he says. “That leads me to believe that there might have been a delivery issue that we hadn’t known about.”

GourmetGiftBaskets.com is also using Knotice’s Concentri SiteTarget product that allows a retailer to test changes to web site content. For instance, if a shopper arrives at its site via an affiliate like Gifts.com, the e-retailer can present a discount code specific to that affiliate. “That helps reassure shoppers that Gifts.com is a partner of ours,” says Bergeron. Since September the retailer has seen a 7% jump in its affiliates’ conversion rates.

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