Overstock.com lived up to its high-capacity name, stuffing inboxes last weekend with 59 different Memorial Day campaigns. Trailing well behind in second and third places were Sears with 22 and Lowes with 18.
In total, 5,000 campaigns including “Memorial Day” in their subject lines were sent in the 30 days leading up to May 25, though 4,000 of them came in the final seven days, according to eDataSource. The company tracks some 25,000 emails daily and sponsors a panel of more than a million consumers who allow their behavior to be tracked in return for added-value email services.
“About 40% of the traffic was on the three-day weekend. This medium has the ability to reach people in the moment,” said John Landsman, eDataSource’s director of strategy and analytics.
Verticals leading the Memorial Day email charge were apparel (642 campaigns), home furnishings (366), and sporting goods (217). So did Overstock have such a high profile because it sells all of that and more?
“Overstock doesn’t show up that often on our radar for event weekends because of its flash-sale, everyday discounting model, so its appearance on Memorial Day was interesting,” said eDataSource CMO Arthur Sweetser, adding that, whatever its reasoning, Overstock was overly successful. “They included a 10% off coupon and got a 41% open rate.”
Just behind Overstock for open rate were Home Depot at 40% and Toys R Us, which achieved a 31% rate in a campaign for its Babies R Us business. Timing and personalization helped spur all those opens.
“The Toys R Us campaign for loyal customers included their rewards balances and then presented offers on products ‘recommended just for you,’” noted Landsman. “Putting someone’s name in the subject line is helpful, but what really drives opens is content that is personalized to preferences and behaviors. Amazon, the 800-pound gorilla, does 1,000 to 2,000 campaigns a day, all based on click behavior and past purchase behavior.”
Behavioral targeting and limited time offers—Home Depot’s stratagem—are key to achieving opens and driving business on lesser holidays. “The only time you see an uptick in organic engagement with emails is during the year-end holiday season, when the pressure is on,” Landsman says. “What drives opens around a weekend like Memorial Day is smart mailers who target people with known purchase intent around that holiday.”
Landsman noted that marketers sent twice as many emails on Mothers’ Day, when the pressure to find the right gift for mom is extremely high.