Harney & Sons tested its email messaging to determine the messages that increase the retailer's revenue the most.

Omnichannel tea retailer Harney & Sons didn’t feel it was doing a good enough job engaging shoppers and keeping them from going to the competition.

“We saw that we had a smaller group of committed customers, and that when people started to drift past 90 days between purchases, they would be less likely to return within the year,” marketing manager Emeric Harney says. With new customers, some would buy once during a steep promotion and not return.

“It definitely felt like we were losing people,” he says.

Harney & Sons, which expects to generate $5 million to $10 million in online sales this year, decided to capture that lost potential revenue by stepping up its email marketing campaigns, Emeric Harney says.


About a year ago, the company began working with email marketing services vendor Klaviyo to better segment its email lists and engage shoppers. Klaviyo integrates with Harney & Sons’ e-commerce platform, Shopify Plus, and it allows the retailer to automate its email campaigns instead of doing manual sends.

Emeric Harney, Harney & Sons Tea

Emeric Harney

After the company’s email marketing became automated and made it easier to quickly reach a broader audience, Emeric Harney says the company wanted to ramp up its customer win-back email marketing program and base those messages on customer behavior. For example, new customers who make a purchase from Harney & Sons receive an email if they do not make a second purchase within 45 days of their initial order. “We started looking at the lifetime value of people and frequency of purchasing,” he says. “Our average consumer might drop off at the 30- to 45-day mark. We send (a win-back email) out on the 45th day. We give them some time to appreciate the tea.”

The company also sends win-back emails to customers who have bought from Harney & Sons at least once but have not ordered again in the past 75, 90 and 120 days.


“We do it (because) if someone is introduced to (competitors) Teavana or David’s Tea after trying us, it’s important for them to keep us front of mind,” Emeric Harney says.

The win-back emails drive shoppers to buy, he says. The campaigns account for about 12% of revenue generated from the retailer’s email marketing.

Harney & Sons also has tinkered with how it phrases deals to see how shoppers respond and which deals work better for its bottom line.

For instance, Emeric Harney says the retailer experimented with offering $10 off an order of $30 or more, or giving 30% off an order of $30 or more, to shoppers who hadn’t ordered in 45 days. The company also tried offering shoppers who hadn’t purchased in 120 days $20 off of an order of $50 or more or 40% off an order of $50 or more.


Both deals offer essentially the same minimum savings. Emeric Harney says emails with the dollar discount produced the same open and conversion rates as those with the percentage discount, despite the fact that a shopper could conceivably save more money with the percentage discount, so he and his team have opted to use the dollar discount with its win-back emails.

“It just seems like it was an easier choice,” he says. “We all know in sales and marketing that the less that the consumer has to think about and the quicker the trigger, the better. The dollar amount is just easy: ‘I spend $50, I get $20 off and I’ve got tea to last me a long time.’”