October 8, 2013, 2:50 PM

If it’s about to rain, send e-mails promoting umbrellas

That’s the idea behind a new e-mail service from Monetate.

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A new e-mail marketing tool from Monetate Inc. strives to present offers to online shoppers that are more personal and more relevant to what they are doing now, such as preparing for nasty weather.

Monetate has not yet revealed pricing for its Monetate Email service, though a spokesman says the cost for retailers will depend on traffic to that merchant’s e-commerce site and what other Monetate products that retailer is using.

Moosejaw Mountaineering, No. 268 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, has tested the Monetate e-mail tool, says Dan Pingree, vice president of marketing for the outdoor gear and apparel retailer. “While e-mail is still the workhorse of digital marketing, it’s been losing effectiveness because it lacks the in-the-moment relevance of customer demands,” he says.

Among the e-mails that Moosejaw sends using the Monetate service are messages that highlight the retailer’s stores located within a one-mile radius of the consumer’s location, as determined by his Internet Protocol, or IP, address when the messages is opened. Monetate says it plans to add GPS capability in a future release; that would aid with identifying e-mail recipients via mobile devices and better reflect where consumers are.

So far, though, Moosejaw has not seen a lift from the e-mails it’s sent using the new service. “They did not outperform their control groups,” he said. Part of the reason, he says, likely comes from store-centered messages lacking a strong call to action.

“We just showed you a picture of the shop along with its location and hours,” he says. “There was no promotional offer.” It will also help to increase the relevancy of e-mails—and the chances of consumers opening them—were they tied to shoppers’ GPS locations, he says.

Monetate says the rules clients set within its user interface can determine if consumers receive messages that contain offers related to the weather forecast at the time the message is opened. “Real-time weather is updated every hour and forecasted weather every four hours,” the Monetate spokesman says.

He says Monetate has seen click-through rates jump by as much as 50% in tests of the e-mail service so far.

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