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App + Email = Ecommerce Done Beautifully

by: Dave Walters (@_DaveWalters)
24 July 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the blog as I’ve been deep in content creation mode for my upcoming Wiley & Sons book Behavioral Marketing: Delivering Personalized Experiences at Scale. It comes out Aug. 24 and is the first title focused exclusively on the concepts, benefits and how-to tactics behind becoming more focused on buyer behaviors as opposed to blasting the same marketing content to everyone on your list. The reward is virtually always smarter communications that drive more revenue, so get started on your own transformation today!

What shook me out of book-writing mode, and back into my blog thinking, was an absolutely brilliant email I received recently from Atlanta start-up Scoutmob. I look at thousands of emails a year for content, design, voice, call to action and 20-plus other elements, and I’m not sure I’ve seen one that hits so well on so many elements. For reasons I’ll outline below, it should be a reference piece for many digital marketers.

Scoutmob full email

The Setup

Firstly, let me set the background on the company and my actions that led up to receiving the email – because all the behaviors and automated rules absolutely matter. Scoutmob describes itself like this on its website:

It's our humble belief that by surrounding ourselves with the authentic, the unique and the curious, our lives are more awesome. We celebrate the independent makers by seeking out their inspired goods and crafted experiences, providing meaningful ways for our users to connect for themselves.

We do this in two ways: 1) SHOPPE, inspired goods by independent makers; and 2) LOCAL, the most curious way to explore your city.

So essentially, Scoutmob provides a layer of local deals and experiences that are hand-curated by the staff, and it has a full ecommerce presence that features the works of equally curated artists and craftspeople. The magic happens when those two elements work together, which is exactly the use case that led to me receiving the email.

The initial sequence went like this:

  1. My family and I were considering where to eat lunch on a Sunday afternoon.
  2. I opened the Scoutmob app to check offers close to my location, and one of our favorite local sandwich shops popped up.
  3. We drove directly there, ordered lunch for four at a non-discounted price of  about $26.
  4. I clicked “Redeem” in the app to pull up the coupon and presented it to the cashier, which took roughly $8 off my ticket.

So that’s the front-end of the process, and by itself that’s a powerful use case. I needed to feed my family, I turned to a trusted app to help guide my selection, and the app delivered a nice discount for me the buyer and created a visit for my local sandwich shop.

If that were the end of the story, I honestly wouldn’t be writing this post now. What Scoutmob did to extend the value proposition to me – and deepen the relationship and trust with their brand – was to send me a “confirmation” email, but with an epic twist.

Extending the Conversation

Above you can see how Scoutmob masterfully confirmed my coupon usage, but also created another layer of value-add for the other half of its service offerings. By offering me free shipping on their Shoppe, Scoutmob not only recognized me as an important part of its brand, but also moved me directly into what the next ideal interaction might be. No resting on laurels or feeling overly good about the value it created for its local partners – Scoutmob went right for the ask on the other side of the business.

This type of cross-channel and cross-product orchestration is what almost every brand should aspire to pull off. In some cases, it might even mean you need to spool up a companion product or service offering specifically to have that next brilliant offer to deliver to your best customers. Or maybe you work with a partner or another group in your multinational company to come up with that next great offer. Regardless, the most important achievement of this campaign wasn’t the redemption or even the free shipping offer. The absolute brilliance came in extending the conversation, and reinforcing their relevance and the trust I place in Scoutmob’s service and the app.

And Then There’s Great Creative

As a wrap-up, let’s take a look at a few ways Scoutmob even killed the email creative. As I said, this simple email hit on a lot of high points. First, you can see below the masterful job of paying attention to the preheader and including a clear summary of their value proposition: “Scoutmob: Purveyors of Local.” Even if I had no idea who Scoutmob was, this drives that all-important open behavior that begins the conversation between the brand and an email recipient.

Scoutmob pre-header

Secondly, the content is nicely stylized and incredibly brand consistent. If you look at their content in email campaigns or surrounding the offers in the app, they all have the same casual, fun tone that draws you further into the relationship with the brand. And there’s lots of reinforcement around its mission of supporting local businesses throughout.

And finally, Scoutmob has done a masterful job of blending together two very powerful calls to action into a single message. The subject line, intro text and brand-consistent colored button are all about the free shipping offer. But notice the company has also slipped in a share-to-social call to action to hopefully drive a bit of social proof and referral action from the redeemer out into their social networks. And yes, of course, there’s a nice bit of content that’s scripted into the social sharing link:

Scoutmob Social Sharing

All told, this email represents the type of cross-channel marketing greatness every modern marketer should be shooting for. It’s no longer enough to be great at one task, but mediocre at others. Weaving an ultimately compelling customer experience across products and channels will soon become the new normal – and Scoutmob’s got a great jump on it. Well done, all.

Related Resources:

1) Tip Sheet: “10 Tips for Getting Started with Mobile App Push Notifications

2) Blog: “Mobile Apps 2.0: Keys to Improving the Customer Experience

3) Tip Sheet: “10 Tips for Using Email to Drive Mobile Engagement — and Vice-Versa


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