September 26, 2012, 3:40 PM

How Crutchfield sparks holiday e-mail conversions

One of its best ways is triggering e-mails based on shoppers’ browsing activity.

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E-mail continues to be a prime source of growth at web and catalog consumer electronics retailer Crutchfield Corp., which relies on the channel even more during the fourth quarter holiday shopping season, says Zach Zimet, senior director of marketing.

Key to that success, he adds, is making e-mail marketing messages as relevant as possible to the interests of recipients even as the volume of the retailer’s e-mail surges. “E-mail is one of our key communications channels during the holiday season,” Zimet says. “Because we have a high number of relevant messages for customers during this time of year, we find that they are receptive to increased frequency.”

Zimet declines to say how many e-mails Crutchfield will send per week this holiday season, but notes the frequency will rise about 50% above the usual rate outside of the holidays.

One of the most effective methods Crutchfield has used to increase holiday e-mail conversion rates is by triggering e-mail messages based on shoppers’ recent browsing activity on Crutchfield.com, Zimet says. Crutchfield’s e-mail management system, which it designed, built and maintains in-house, can automatically send e-mail marketing messages tied to online content recently viewed by customers who have opted into receiving the retailer’s e-mail. “E-mails that are triggered and customized by recent browsing activity can be very powerful,” Zimet says.

Crutchfield is careful, however, to cover in each browsing-triggered message a broad enough range of products by level of quality and price, he adds. When a shopper browses the TV category on Crutchfield.com, for example, a triggered e-mail will pitch more than one product from that page.

“We find that we are successful when we acknowledge category preference, but give customers several options within a category that might meet their needs,” he says. “For example, showing them both a highly rated TV and a budget-friendly model. These messages have repeatedly demonstrated an ability to increase conversion rates.”

Crutchfield is No.123 in the Internet Retailer Top 500.

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