Most Australian marketers have a lot of work to do to match the industry and global leaders in email marketing, according to research from dotmailer. Australian retailers are getting the basics right but are struggling with more sophisticated data-driven email campaigns.

“It’s clear from the study that we’re focusing very heavily on user experience and there’s some great user experiences throughout the brands that we studied. But where we are really falling over is the email experience,” said Rohan Lock, Regional Director APAC, dotmailer.

dotmailer evaluated the multi-channel experience 20 of Australia’s biggest online retailers were providing, and compared them to global data. The full results are available to download in the dotmailer 2018 “Hitting the Mark” report.

Lock told Which-50 that brands here have a good grasp on the basics, but are “lacking” when it comes to using behavioural data to drive personalisation and segmentation. According to Lock, the struggles of these laggards are in contrast to global leaders like America and a few leading Australian brands, which are running sophisticated data-driven email campaigns.

There were pleasant surprises from the study too. The vast majority of brands studied had implemented some automation — like welcome campaigns for new signups.

But welcome campaigns are only a small part of the customer journey, according to Paul Greenberg, founder and CEO of the National Online Retail Association. He said he had seen a similar lack of data-driven email campaigns across the industry.

“Certainly, we mistake email marketing as that first email to introduce a product or offer a service of the retailer — but that’s just the beginning,” Greenberg said.

“There are many steps between that first introductory point and the retention piece, and lots to be done. So yes, more sophistication required, more intel, and of course we know one-size-no-longer-fits-all. So an element of strong and authentic personalisation is absolutely a prerequisite.”

One brand stands out

There is a clear leader in Australia’s online retail pack, according to the research. The Iconic topped the local list and was in the top five globally. According to Lock, it is one of the few online retailers implementing sophisticated data-driven campaigns.

“Right from the moment you hit [The Iconic] site, there’s a nice popover on the site, but they’re segmenting right from the get go,” Lock said.

That “simple segment” of gender forms the basis of data collection, which is quickly followed up with timely and content-rich messages like abandoned cart emails, Lock said. The process continues to be enriched by behavioural data, eventually allowing personalisation and product recommendations.

The retailer is a good example of data-driven emails in action, Lock says, but for others the first step can be as simple as a birthday email. “If we’ve got the data, then we really should use it.”

About the author

Joseph Brookes is a writer for the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, of which dotmailer is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply.

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