April 24, 2014

Email Merchandise

When I run a Merchandise Forensics analysis, the results within the email channel are always interesting!

Here's what you learn:
  • Customers buy the merchandise you feature.
  • Customers buy the discount/promotion you offer.
  • Customers buy other items to complement what was offered.
  • As many as half of all purchases happen outside of the open/click/conversion pattern.
  • Customers frequently like lower price points.
In total, the email "merchandise assortment" is different from the assortment sold by the rest of the business. It's the merchandise that discount-centric customers who love the thrill of discounts/promotions tend to gravitate toward.

This assortment, of course, is different from your core merchandise assortment. I once analyzed a business where items sold for $49 with 20% of customers using a promotion, yielding an average item price of $47. The email item sold for $41 with 80% of customers using a promotion, yielding an average item price of $35. Ultimately, the email customer was a fundamentally different customer. Think of what this difference does to the overall merchandising strategy of the company?

When the assortment differs, channel conflicts exist. When the assortment differs significantly, spend in other channels may well decline.

Use your Merchandising Forensics framework to thoroughly understand what your email marketing programs do to the evolution of your customer file. We keep hearing about #omnichannel concepts (same merchandise, same channels, same pricing, same promotions, same same same same same blah blah blah). In reality, customers use various channels differently, and as a consequence, purchase different merchandise by channel.