Many retailers and eCommerce businesses are reviewing their choice of email marketing software. This is a healthy and valuable exercise: email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment, since online retailers are often in a great position, having both customer purchase history and email addresses. These 2 assets mean that retailers can use an incredibly cost-effective medium to send targeted, personalized, and even automated messages to customers at the right time.
But it takes both the data, the insights, and the software features to generate the strongest ROI.
Two email marketing software providers worth noting are Listrak, who position themselves as a retail-specific platform, and MailChimp, which has over 3 million users and a clean and simple interface. at first glance, some retailers assume that because a high-priced product like Listrak talks the language of retailers, it must be a better solution than more mass-adopted software like MailChimp. But the price point, feature set, and ease of use of MailChimp makes this a leading choice for more and more retailers.
MailChimp vs Listrak:
MailChimp offers a free version for those with lists under 2,000. But the cost savings don't stop there. 25,000 customers/subscribers will cost you but $150/month, while a list size of 100,000 costs just under $500. Listrak, by comparison, keeps its pricing hidden, but feedback from retailers pegs their service as starting at $500/mo, and running into the thousands for lists of 100,000 or more.
Standard Email Features
Listrak and MailChimp offer all the standard email features that every retail marketer needs: good deliverability, easy campaign management, list import/export, subscriber forms, API integration, email analytics, and campaign design tools. MailChimp's campaign design and mobile/tablet optimization functionality far exceeds those of Listrak, and the interface is far more intuitive and easy to use. MailChimp also has a far greater range of integrations and plugins available on its marketplace.
Retail Specific Features
Some of the most important features that retailers should be seeking in an email marketing solution include segmentation capabilities, automated or triggered emails, the ability to import 200 or more custom data fields (for all that juicy purchase history data), and retail specific analytics. Until recently, Listrak beat out MailChimp on the later, but MailChimp's new eCommerce 360 feature (a simple plugin that any MailChimp account can activate) brings eCommerce tracking directly into the MailChimp interface, showing revenue, products purchased, and other order details for every subscriber.
MailChimp also has powerful segmentation and automation tools, which, due to their large user-base and their marketing emphasis on great design and ease of use, sometimes get overlooked. But retailers using MailChimp are getting tremendous bang for their buck: a simple interface that powers every kind of email, from automated welcome series to product recommendations, from best customer reward emails to triggered win-back campaigns.
Both platforms have pre-packaged integrations to many of the most popular eCommerce platforms, like Magento, Volusion, and Yahoo Store. But MailChimp's offerings are far broader, due to the strength of their partner network. There are multiple integration options for many of the leading platforms - a retailer can use a third party plugin to simply sync their subscribers between Magento and MailChimp, or leverage a different app to import full purchase history, product, and customer data. MailChimp's open source attitude brings the best of breed to its ecosystem, and retailers benefit from a wider set of options.
Hands down, MailChimp is a better option for most retailers, and due to its low cost and the ease of transition (both to and from), it is absolutely worth trying for an extended period before adopting an expensive software that locks retailers in like Listrak.