Early holiday email marketing pays off for Country Club Prep

February 12, 2016 03:55 PM

When it comes to email marketing during the holidays, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel from a price standpoint.

For at least one retailer, offering the same discountit did during the 2014 holiday season but starting its email push earlier paid big dividends.Preppy men’s and women’s apparel e-retailer Country Club Prep revealed its  Cyber Monday deals in an email push beginning Nov. 10. In 2014, Country Club Prep began sending emails promoting its Cyber Monday deals on Nov. 19, which was a week and a day before Thanksgiving.

“What we learned [in 2015] was that you want to tip your hand as early as possible to the consumer so they know what’s coming,” explains Country Club Prep co-founder Matt Watson.

Consumers who hadn’t bought from Country Club Prep, No. 929 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Second 500 Guide, in the past were simply informed about the retailer’s Cyber Monday deals. Existing customers, however, were able to buy those deals earlier, starting Nov. 10.

Immediately after Thanksgiving, Country Club Prep stepped up its email cadence significantly. Throughout the year, the company sends an average of 1.5 emails to each shopper on its list per week. From the Friday after Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, the retailer sent 12 emails to each shopper on its list, with each email containing varying subject lines meant to convey the deals being offered and a sense of urgency for shoppers.

At the beginning of the Monday after Thanksgiving, one of the emails started with a simple greeting in the subject line: “Good Morning (shopper name) – Cyber Monday Has Arrived!” An email sent later in the day stressed that shoppers had to act now or lose out on the deals. The subject line: “Hey (shopper name) – Just Two Hours Left to Shop Cyber Monday!” The retailer worked with e-commerce marketing software provider Springbot to segment its email lists based on both a shopper’s gender and what it calls “purchase gender,” wherein it sends product suggestions based on which gender the shopper normally buys for, and personalize its messages.

Personalization in particular seemed to resonate with shoppers.

“Being able to incorporate first names makes a big deal there,” Watson says. “We tried to keep it fun and light.”

Those efforts paid off.

On Cyber Monday, sales for Country Club Prep grew 52% compared with the same day in 2014, while conversion was up 25% and traffic to its website increased 31%.  Watson attributes that growth largely to the merchant’s renewed focus on improving its email campaigns. In fact, starting the holiday season earlier in 2015 proved to be so successful that Watson says he and his team plan to begin sooner in November this year.

“We’re going to rebrand it,” he says. “It’s not going to be Cyber Monday or Black Friday. Since we’re preppy, it’s going to be Seersucker November.”

For more on what retailers did to improve email open and conversion rates during the 2015 holiday shopping season, check out the February issue of Internet Retailer magazine.




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