7/20/06

Road Runner Sports boosts e-mail open rates for first-time buyers

A decision to limit e-mail messages and customize content to first-time buyers has helped Road Runner Sports Inc. increase open rates and average order values for the group.

Paul Demery , Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

E-mail program boosts open rates and average order value for Road Runner Sports’ first-time buyers

A decision to limit e-mail messages and customize content to first-time buyers has helped Road Runner Sports Inc. to increase open rates and average order values for the group.

Road Runner, No. 154 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, cut the frequency of e-mail messages to new buyers after noticing that response rates among new customers dropped significantly within 2-1/2 months, says Dan Bock, senior e-commerce manager.

The retailer scaled back contacts with new buyers in the first 90 days following their first purchase. And rather than sending out the standard promotions, Road Runner developed content geared to the needs of first-time buyers.

“Three days after their purchase, it’s ‘Hey, thank you, how was your order, tell us what you think,’” Bock says. A second message sent out several days later introduces the customer to Road Runner’s shoe experts, and a third message several days after that features content on topics such as how to select the correct shoe.

The result: a 45% to 50% increase in open rates for first-time buyers, according to Rick Kenney, account manager at e-Dialog, Road Runner’s e-mail services provider.

Road Runner also experienced a 5% to 10% increase in average order value, and a 10% to 15% increase in revenue per first-time customer, Bock says.

Road Runner Sports now is developing individualized content for members of its Run American Club and VIP Run America Club based on their buying patterns and other preferences.

“We’re making this change from just blasting out communications to making sure that what we’re sending out is really relevant to the customer at that time, that place,” Bock says. “If someone is buying ASICS, why would we send them a promotion for a Nike shoe? If they’re just interested in content and running articles, we want to make sure we’re doing that.”

Road Runner also is testing different messages and frequencies with customers who have inactive e-mail addresses. Its goal is to reactivate 20% of the inactive file, Bock says. “It’s been interesting because we’ve really gone from all offers, all the time to ‘Hey, do you need new gear for your run today?’ or “Here’s how you hydrate in summer,’” he says.

Topics:

Bock, Email client, Internet, Road Runner High Speed Online

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