Sportsman’s Warehouse

Using Email to Lure More Customers to Stores

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The Goal

  • Deploy email to encourage store visits.
  • Recover revenue from abandoned carts.
  • Develop a program that entices vendor participation.

The Approach

  • Segment email by location to highlight store events and encourage vists.
  • Used Bronto’s Cart Recovery app.
  • Segment by purchase interest for vendor-specific emails.

The Result

  • Open rates on geo-segmented emails are 66% percent higher than promotional emails and encourage store associates to collect emails.
  • Cart recovery messages open at a rate 155% higher than promotional messages and convert at 12X the rate of those emails.
  • By showing how the retailer can segment, vendors are willing to pay for some email sends.

How do you encourage the online and brick-and-mortar portions of your business to work in harmony? By building an email program that encourages both online and in-store purchasing.

Salt Lake City-based Sportsman’s Warehouse is doing just that with a multichannel approach that is driving revenue, boosting attendance at in-store events and helping the retailer develop more valuable relationships with vendors.

Ecommerce Marketing Manager Colby Saenz runs the email program with an eye toward giving shoppers a reason to visit the 87 Sportsman’s Warehouse stores in 22 states. The retailer focuses on supplies for hunting, shooting, camping and fishing. One of Saenz’ big initiatives this past year has been highlighting ship-to-store option in emails and on the website. “Fifty-six percent of our online orders are ship to store, a 25% increase over last year,” Saenz says. “The importance of ship-to-store feature is that it brings customers to the store where they can add to their purchases.”

“It’s also opened the door for us to incorporate drop-ship, which is important if the product is something that we typically don’t have on hand,” Saenz says. “This is a great convenience for our customers.”

Finding Success With Cart Recovery Emails

The ship-to-store numbers get a boost from a traditional email tactic: cart abandonment messages. Using Bronto’s Cart Recovery app, the messages open at a rate 155% higher than promotional messages and convert at 12x the rate of those emails.

The welcome message series also does well – converting at twice the rate of promotional messages. Neither series is dependent on a coupon, though emails that tout a coupon are opened at nearly twice the rate. And coupon abuse is curbed because Saenz uses Bronto’s Coupon Manager, which generates a unique code for each email address. “These programs are important assets and big value pieces for us.”

Carefully Segmenting for Selling and Store Events

Campers aren’t necessarily interested in the same products as hunters – or fishermen. And store events in Salt Lake City will obviously not be attended by someone in Wilmington, North Carolina. Segmenting is critical, but Saenz wanted to make sure he could do it simply and in a manner that didn’t slam customers multiple times in one day because they were enrolled in a welcome series, expressed an interest in hunting and fishing through a contact form, were near a store holding an event and were receiving transactional messages because of something they just bought.

Saenz sought help from Bronto’s strategy services group to get it all to work seamlessly. “They helped me with workflows, suggested the best process for suppressing promotional emails and outlined best practices for testing,” Saenz says, adding, “Their advice made me more productive.”

Saenz not only segments against preferred interests, but can also incorporate sales data by zip code to build emails that better appeal to people geographically. That is particularly important for seasonal emails as hunting and fishing seasons vary in different parts of the country. All of the emails are edited using the Message Editor function which helps Saenz understand how they’ll render on different devices.

Open rates on segmented emails are 66% percent higher than promotional emails and provide an excellent incentive for store associates to collect emails. As the company encourages store associates to collect email addresses, having email campaigns that drive customers to the store gives associates an incentive. Saenz also set up automated emails to remind people that their loyalty points are due to expire – with the option to shop at their nearest store (highlighted in the email) or shop online.

Another Value to Segmentation

The segmentation capabilities have yielded another bonus: “Vendors are willing to pay to have an email dedicated to their brand because they know it will reach the right people,” Saenz says. When you can show your vendor that you have a way to reach bass fishermen from areas that have bought your products in the past, it isn’t a hard sell. “The couple hundred vendors who sell in our stores are very interested in that.”

Email provides Sportsman’s Warehouse with a discounting option that doesn’t break the minimum price points most brands set. Free shipping or discounts on cart totals that are advertised through email don’t collide with vendor rules. “We can’t advertise these specials on the website, but we can advertise them in an email,” Saenz says.

Moving Forward

Sportsman’s Warehouse is on Oracle’s ATG ecommerce platform and with Bronto part of the Oracle family, he is looking forward to even more ways to look at data across all the selling channels. But for now, he’s just happy to have a partner that provides tools to expand the email program, not at the expense of, but to enhance the brick and mortar operations.

“Our email volume has doubled, but it’s been worth it – and I haven’t even used everything the platform provides,” Saenz says.

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