Rather than me explain it, I’ll actually defer to Stephanie Miller, Global Markets Catalyst at ReturnPath. She summed it up really well in a recent post on ReturnPath’s blog while recapping a panel discussion from the Shop.org Annual Summit. For the full post, click here.
An excerpt from Stephanie’s post:
“One of the key issues for retailers looking to move to a lifecycle-based approach to email marketing is gathering data from the disparate systems that allow us to send triggered messages based on subscriber behavior. Typically this means sending abandoned shopping cart messages or recommendations based on browsing or follow ups after purchase….
…Several retailers lamented the lack of ability to access website browsing data at all. And all the speakers acknowledge that even when you can access the data, you need to include multiple segments to make the numbers worthwhile. Consider that you start with a high number of site visits, then cut it based on visitor recognition (cookies) then cut it again based on a match to email address (and a third cut is against your suppression file). So you can have hundreds of thousands of browsers, but only tens of thousands of mailable subscribers.
One email service provider and Return Path partner Knotice that I met at Shop.org has a unique solution to address part of this data access and automation challenge. Knotice can authenticate a customer based on a trackable open (the technology is cool and complicated, but it’s similar to the way that a one pixel invisible image lets us track opens today). So your email system can identify if the email subscriber is a known visitor. That can help you understand the behavior of your email subscribers (are they more or less frequent site visitors, for example), and customize the next visit to the website based on email behavior. If the subscriber opened, you can feature the products highlighted in the email. If the subscriber did not open, you might show something else (on the assumption that the subject line on that product did not engage). You can also easily see how much of your site browse behavior is from email subscribers – and keeps that data in the email sending database – which lets you then trigger appropriate browse and post purchase messages without a complex data integration.”