Rite Aid’s Email Re-engagement Rx

Mobile emailAfter four months of inactivity, Rite Aid used to consider a customer who’d been receiving its emails “inactive.”
But unopened emails represented lost revenue, so the retailer decided to reengage those customers.

Challenge: Re-engage inactive email contacts
Solution: Ongoing triggered re-engagement email series

  • 21% better open rate
  • 40% rise in Gmail open rate
  • 153% Web revenue increase
  • 112% rise in in-store revenue

“A big challenge of managing any email list is to keep your contacts regularly engaged and active in your email program,” Joe Tertel, Rite Aid’s manager of e-commerce and email marketing, told Target Marketing on Nov. 6. “The goal for our re-engagement campaign is to increase the effectiveness of our email marketing program by reaching more customers on a regular basis to drive additional and incremental revenue in-store and online.”
To do this, Rite Aid created an ongoing, triggered re-engagement email series in August. After the company noticed customer inactivity, Rite Aid sent customers an automated email with what Tertel terms, “a very strong subject line to encourage them to open.” Rite Aid measures opens, rather than clicks, as conversions because some of its emails are just informational in nature and don’t require a click.
That re-engagement email contained a “high-value coupon” to use in-store or online. If they didn’t do so within 30 days, they’d get another coupon, “with a sense of urgency.”
If customers still didn’t re-engage, Rite Aid moved them down to a lower cadence of only special announcements and high-value offers.
But many re-engaged.
“Since we started this campaign, we have seen a 21 percent increase in open rate with an outstanding increase of 40 percent for Gmail accounts,” Tertel said. “Our weekly engaged contacts increased 22 percent, and we’ve seen a 20 percent decrease in contact loss rate. From this campaign, online revenue has increased 153 percent and attributed in-store revenue increased 112 percent. Because of this campaign and our other email tactics, over 70 percent of our contacts are engaged in emails each month.”

Heather Fletcher is a freelance reporter for Adweek. She covers performance and direct marketing.