Net-A-Porter and ASOS: What can we learn from their email campaigns and what are they missing?

Net-A-Porter and ASOS

There’s such a thing as being fashionably late, but fashion companies who aren’t prioritising their email marketing efforts are going to miss out completely. ASOS and Net-A-Porter are two online fashion powerhouses using email marketing exceptionally well to re-engage their customers to stay front of mind and top of inbox. So what can we learn from them and what are they missing?

In the past few weeks, I’ve kept my eyes peeled for what makes these two retailers particularly successful at the email marketing game. I’m a long-time subscriber to both companies’ mailing lists. I buy from ASOS quite frequently; my last purchase was in April 2014. My last purchase from Net-A-Porter was early in the year, and I’ve bought from them perhaps a handful of other times in the past. Since I have a fair share of backlog emails from both, I spent a few weeks collecting and comparing their emails and have come away with a few top tips you can use to improve your email marketing efforts.

Given the differences in target audience, how do the companies use email to target differently?

Net-A-Porter has adopted its email strategy in a brilliant way, offering fashion information, tips and news to keep its audience engaged between luxury purchases, positioning themselves with the likes of Vogue and Elle as a glossy fashion magazine rather than a retailer. Net-A-Porter only offers discounts at their twice yearly, seasonal, sales. Their customers are high net worth individuals with an average age of 39 and a whopping average yearly fashion spend of £13,000. These individuals will not respond to discounts. They want luxury fashion and a retailer who knows what the latest trends are.

Net-A-Porter only offers discounts at their twice yearly sales.

ASOS, on the other hand, engages lower income young people by offering sales and discounts frequently to increase the volume of purchases whilst still positioning themselves as a fashion forward company that also engages customers with emails that display current trends. ASOS also produces a fashion magazine however it is not in the same easy to read email format that Net-A-Porter has adopted for theirs.

ASOS engages their customers with emails that display current trends.

And what about the similarities?

Both ASOS and Net-A-Porter use emails correspond to

  1. browsing patterns, unpurchased items left in the online checkout and even defined mailing list preferences as well as
  2. seasonal trends most loved by their major demographics. I left unpurchased items in my basket and received emails from both prompting me to purchase.

Below I look at both in detail.

Net-A-Porter

Chock full of relevant content

Each email Net-A-Porter sends supplies valuable content that will interest their target demographic. Getting a Net-A-Porter magazine email is almost as exciting as cracking open a brand new issue of Vogue. Recipients are not being coerced to buy in a traditional manner, but instead are given style and fashion tips that work in items for sale on the site. Even better, emails come three times a week, serving up news, trend updates and style selections in a trendy, magazine-layout like email that boosted conversions 30 percent.

Net-A-Porter:  their magazine-layout like email that boosted conversions 30 percent.

Net-A-Porter: their magazine-layout like email that boosted conversions 30 percent.

Whether you’re looking to shop for your next ready-to-wear outfit or you’re a style guru who just wants to read about the newest trends (and be tempted by the relevant items that are just a click and shipment away), you’ll find that there’s something for you in every Net-A-Porter email.

Compelling CTAs

Even better than the multiple calls to action Net-A-Porter often includes, they’re all actually actionable. Email marketers can no longer get away with a simple “Click here” or “Read more” to get that click through. Calls to action that align directly with an exciting or interesting task will generate a higher click through.

Regular, consistent emails

Creatures of habit are sometimes considered boring, especially in the fashion world. However, consistency can really pay off. Imagine expecting an exciting package only to be let down when it doesn’t arrive on time – the same can go for an email that delivers information and tips as exciting as any tangible piece of mail. Net-A-Porter sends style updates three times each week that report on trends and fashion inspiration in addition to emails with relevant suggestions that align with selections you make on which designers you want to hear about.

Net-A-Porter sends style updates three times each week

Net-A-Porter sends style updates three times each week

ASOS

Compelling subject lines

It is always exciting to receive an ASOS email, not least because I pretty much know what’s in store from the minute it drops into my inbox. Email subject lines tell me exactly what I’ll get once I open the email. Unlike Net-A-Porter, which caters to a higher income audience more than likely rarely motivated by discounts, ASOS email subject lines very often lead with a discount, which often improves open rates.

ASOS email subject lines very often lead with a discount, which often improves open rates

If the email doesn’t include a discount, it is another interesting, actionable line relevant to me specifically. When I registered with ASOS, I was a student (long ago – but don’t tell anyone else that!) and now receive emails around being at school or, given the time of year, gearing up to go back. This could also be why I receive so many discount emails… Since I’m no longer a student, I’d prefer more emails with style and fashion tips for the young professional, although I do admit, I still love emails that include discount codes (once a bargain shopper, always a bargain shopper). A quick poll of other ASOS shoppers confirms that they receive discounts, but they are not necessarily geared toward student life.

A quick poll of other ASOS shoppers confirms that they receive discounts, but they are not necessarily geared toward student life.

A quick poll of other ASOS shoppers confirms that they receive discounts, but they are not necessarily geared toward student life.

ASOS and Net-A-Porter

Targeted selections based on past history

Several times a week I receive emails from ASOS with products that are I put in my cart in a fit of impulse and then leave there so I don’t feel guilty for a splurge purchase. Getting the emails reminding me of what I wanted is often justification enough to click back through and complete my purchase, and maybe even add a few more things to my cart before I check out. The discounts offered on past products I’ve looked at certainly help my urge to splurge, too!

Net-A-Porter, on the other hand, sends emails based on selections of designers I like that I’ve made on their site. This offers a more personalised experience, as the moment an item from one of my selected designers is stocked, I am sent an email letting me know. With Net-A-Porter, you’re truly in the driver’s seat and can select what designers are included in your emails. This is especially cool because the site is updated three times a week with new merchandise, and if you select what designers you want to know about, you’ll be the first in the know with an email announcing new stock. Being in control is the consolation for the fact that, especially when it comes to new products, Net-A-Porter rarely offers discounts for consumers. This, of course, is in alignment with their positioning as a high-end purveyor of luxury products.

With Net-A-Porter, you’re truly in the driver's seat and can select what designers are included in your emails.

With Net-A-Porter, you’re truly in the driver’s seat and can select what designers are included in your emails.

What are they both missing?

Crucially I was surprised to see that neither Net-A-Porter nor ASOS send email campaigns based on the unique browsing and purchasing behaviours of their customers. For instance I was looking for a floral dress and when I searched on ASOS, 911 items came up. On Net-A-Porter 493 items appeared. Being pressed for time I couldn’t look through every one and that is where personalised emails are invaluable. I would have loved to receive an email with dresses similar to one that I had purchased or viewed recently. Our research shows that this type of email can increase sales by up to 150%.

Our research shows that this type of email can increase sales by up to 150%.

At Mojn our core business is tailoring emails to the buying and purchasing behaviours of your customers – and being really smart about it. Our technology works with your existing email provider and is easy to implement. For more details why not get in touch and see what Mojn can do for you.

Neither Net-A-Porter nor ASOS send email campaigns based on the unique browsing and purchasing behaviours of their customers

Neither Net-A-Porter nor ASOS send email campaigns based on the unique browsing and purchasing behaviours of their customers

Coming up on our blog we look at how you can target the 80% of customers that come to your website but never buy nor sign up to your database.

What other email tactics do you use to improve conversions?

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