Although it can be tempting to send increasingly more emails and get as many email subscribers as possible, online jewelry retailer Moriarty’s Gem Art is working to thoughtfully build its email subscriber list.

Marketing emails drive about 15% of jewelry retailer Moriarty’s Gem Art’s online sales, says Jeff Moriarty, marketing manager at the family business. That outpaces all the retailer’s other marketing channels on a last-touch attribution model.

Jeff Moriarty

Because email is crucial to the retailer’s long-term success, it regularly monitors consumers’ responses to its email program to allow it to make adjustments, such as tweaking when it asks for a consumer’s email address and what types of messages it sends to shoppers. For example, over the past few years the retailer saw its open rates drop from 15% down to 12% down to 10% for its larger email blasts, and it knew it needed to make a change, Moriarty says.

Moriarty’s Gem Art launched its ecommerce site MoreGems.com in 2008. The luxury jewelry retailer has one store in Indiana and estimates it will generate $1.2 million online in 2019.

The merchant has about 25,000 consumers on its marketing email list, which is slowly growing each year, Moriarty says. However, the retailer’s tactics have changed over the last year to better cater to consumers, who are growing fatigued of email.

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Consumers are bombarded with emails from retailers

“If I’m away from my computer for 15 minutes, I will have 10 emails sitting in there when I come back; most of them aren’t pertinent for me, or speaking to me, or are very broad emails,” Moriarty says. “People are getting hit over and over again with emails these days… People are used to now just going through and deleting emails that don’t have anything to do with what they’re looking for.”

And the jewelry retailer is just as guilty at trying to grab consumers’ eyeballs in their inbox. Five years ago, the retailer sent one email on Black Friday, and one on Cyber Monday. In 2018, Moriarty’s Gem Art sent three emails on Thanksgiving, three on Black Friday, three on the following Saturday, three on the Sunday and three on Cyber Monday.

But the retailer is trying to be strategic about its email sends. For example, if a shopper opened one of its emails on Black Friday, it did not send another email to her Saturday or Sunday, he says.

Aside from segmenting the Thanksgiving weekend, Moriarty’s Gem Art uses other email tactics to ensure its messages are read without over-emailing its list.

For example, the retailer rarely sends a mass email to its entire list anymore, only about five or six the entire year, mostly during the holidays, Moriarty says. It realized that shoppers would unsubscribe, and its email base would go down if it didn’t thoughtfully consider the messages it sends to each shopper.

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Moriarty’s Gem Art segments its email lists for better open rates

The retailer now segments its email to shoppers into lists between 1,000 and 10,000 consumers, with content based on a shopper’s previous purchase, site visiting behavior or with a coupon enticing her if the consumer has never made a purchase.

The retailer also A-B tests the subject line for each email it sends. Moriarty uses its email service provider Klaviyo to select a random 25% of the list’s send. It will then divide this 25% in half and send each group a different subject line. The subject line with the most opens after four hours is the “winner,” which the retailer will then use on the remaining 75% of the consumers on the send. This results typically in a 2-4% increase in open rates than the initial send with 25% of the list, Moriarty says.

If shoppers don’t open that email, the retailer will then send another email to shoppers who didn’t open that email with a brand new subject line. Most of the time, there is not a dramatic difference in open rates in this second batch, he says.

Moriarty’s Gem Art’s segmented emails have on average a 20% open rate, he says. Site-wide email open rates are much lower, around a 10% open rate, he says. The 20% average has held constant in the past years that it has segmented its list.

How Moriarty’s Gem Art acquires email addresses

Besides a more robust segmenting and send strategy, the retailer has also changed how it collects email addresses. Previously, the retailer had a pop-up on its homepage offering a discount code if shoppers sign up for its email marketing list.

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Since the start of 2019, the retailer has been experimenting with digital marketing vendor Justuno Inc. to change when and where on the site that pop-up appears. For example, the pop-up will appear after the shopper has been on a product detail page for seven seconds or has been on the site for 30 seconds. The retailer found that it generated more sign-ups after the seven-second pop-up, but shoppers who signed up after 30 seconds on the site had a higher conversion rate.

Also within the past few months, the jewelry merchant has stopped automatically opting in its customers to marketing emails when they make a purchase.

Although its list is not growing as fast as it previously did, the retailer is more confident that these shoppers want to open its emails, Moriarty says.

“Why not get the most qualified subscribers as possible?” Moriarty says. And if shoppers do not opt in to marketing emails but have made a purchase, the retailer captures the email address and may email the shopper once a year.

It’s hard to have specific metric goals on email conversion and click-through rates, as it all depends on the message in the email, the discount offered, how many consumers received the email and the email’s goal, Moriarty says.

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The results of its email efforts have paid off, as the retailer has been able to maintain its 20% open rate and still built its email list over the last year. Compared with its other digital marketing channels, email is the most expensive, Moriarity says, because the retailer invests in specific tools and does not spend much with other channels. Plus, of all its marketing channels, email brings in the most sales, he says.

“Of course, we want sales to increase but we are looking for other creative ways to stand out and get other types of company engagement with our customers,” he says.

For the coming year, the retailer wants to focus its email content on customer engagement instead of sales or purchase-related emails. For example, the retailer wants to showcase its expertise in jewelry and provide education to shoppers. It also wants to drive traffic to its Instagram and YouTube channel to deepen its relationship with its customers.

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