*This is a guest post by Christina Dedrick & Lizzie Nirenberg at Klaviyo
Earlier this year, the world was forced to pivot to what we now know as the ‘new normal’. Travel all but stopped, brick and mortar stores closed their doors, and businesses of all shapes and sizes were forced to lay off employees. As retail brands were caught in the crossfire of this global pandemic, Klaviyo made a pointed decision to help in the only way we knew we could – by collecting, analyzing, and sharing data that brands need to make informed decisions. And what we discovered was drastically more positive than what was being reported on the nightly news.
Facing facts – ecommerce is a different breed of retail
Although the US Department of Commerce reports a staggering 8.7 percent dip in retail sales – the state of ecommerce has a much brighter outlook. In fact, ecommerce is actually booming right now. Across the more than 32,000 Klaviyo customers studied, overall sales have increased by 42 percent since before the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.
Regardless of whether you’re selling online or in-person, establishing relationships with those on your contact list is crucial. When COVID-19 became a pandemic, every consumer got at least one (if not one hundred) email from businesses explaining how they’re handling the crisis. And based on our data, consumers opened a lot of those emails. Why? Because they are home, in front of their screens, and craving engagement. And those business update emails aren’t the only ones being sent or opened. Across the board, email is thriving and helping brands demolish sales records.
Email is “on fire” right now
Consumers have significantly changed their behavior since the start of COVID-19. What has this meant for email? In short, email is on fire right now, and e-commerce is having an out of season Black Friday / Cyber Monday (BFCM for short). Since March 15, when COVID-19 began its widespread impact on the United States, email engagement has significantly increased. When looking at brands who have been sending email with Klaviyo since at least BFCM last year, 30% of those companies have sent a campaign since March 15 with attributed revenue that outperformed their best BFCM campaign.
Every email metric we can measure is up. Open rates between March 15 – April 29 are 22% higher than open rates between Jan 1 – March 1. Click rates are up 21%. Most importantly, revenue per recipient is up 39%. Overall, revenue attributed to email is up 81%. The spike in daily revenue that started when stimulus checks were deposited, the week of April 13, is sustaining at more than half of daily levels seen during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, unlike Black Friday, where revenue quickly returned back to the normal seasonal level, email revenue is still up through the last week of April, and there are no hints of it slowing down.
In short, any brand not utilizing email to communicate with customers during this time has been missing out on a massive opportunity to start nurturing a relationship or close a sale.
Content that is working
We did a deep dive on the types of email campaigns that are responsible for the huge April revenue numbers and we found four distinct categories that are working well.
The most common type of email we saw generate massive revenue was sales. While deep discounts are always appealing to customers, we saw several brands use strategies to limit the number of discounts they were giving away. One highly successful email required customers to reply with an email that proved they were a healthcare worker to receive the discount code. Others used flash sales to limit the time their discount was available. While spending habits are changing as customers, customers still love sales.
2. Business as usual
While COVID-19 has impacted how you have to do business, it doesn’t mean it should upend the marketing calendar you already had. In our deep dive, we saw product launches and pre-orders for products, with no mention of coronavirus, perform extremely well. Easter sales generated unseasonably high revenue. As we saw with Mother’s Day, and with Memorial Day on the horizon, adjusting the tone of your holiday plans may be in order, but drastically changing your messaging for holidays and the spring to summer transition may not be necessary.
3. Projects you can work on during social distancing
Repositioning products you already have has been another strong email strategy. With the change in people’s habits, home and auto repair projects that people may have previously neglected are now higher priority. Connecting customers with what they need to have the best stay at home experience.
4. Masks + PPE
For brands that can transition to manufacturing masks and face shields, revenue from email communicating the shift in product offerings has been massive. With uncertainty around how long recommendations to use face coverings will last, it’s not clear how long this will last or if the market has been saturated. Some of the most successful mask emails we’ve seen create urgency by offering only a limited run of the particular style of face covering.
Email is more valuable than ever. In this period where people’s lives have changed, customers have turned to ecommerce to order their essentials, gifts, clothes, home workout gear, cosmetics, and everything else they need to make time at home feel like time well spent.
And we don’t see that changing any time soon. Although stores will open their doors again, we don’t see this shift to online-first retail going away. Now is the time to double down on growing your list and establish quality relationships with your subscribers. With a well-developed email marketing strategy, you could experience your best year of online sales yet.
Klaviyo is the world’s leading owned marketing platform known for accelerating revenue for online businesses using the channels they own like email, web and mobile. Enabling companies to leverage these owned marketing channels, Klaviyo makes it easy to store, access, analyze and use transactional and behavioral data to power highly-targeted customer and prospect communications. And unlike other marketing platforms, Klaviyo doesn’t force companies to compromise between advanced functionality or ease of use – so companies of all sizes are able to maximize their sales quickly. That’s why more than 34,000 innovative companies like Chubbies, Custom Ink, and LivingProof sell more with Klaviyo. Visit www.klaviyo.com to learn more or try Klaviyo for free today.