Kayla Cobb

How Microsoft Store Turned Its Receipts Into a Personalized Customer Touchpoint

September 18th, 2015

Personalized marketing is a customer-centric trend that’s been on the rise, but it’s one of those trends that can seem unattainable.

After all, creating a truly personalized, one-on-one experience between your brand and your customer takes a drastic toll on time, resources and manpower. Or at least that’s what you would think at first glance.

Enter Microsoft Store.

Shawna Dahlin, Senior Email Marketing Manager, Microsoft Store, sat down with Selena Blue, Manager of Editorial Content, MECLABS, at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 to discuss how she and her team made the seemingly unattainable achievable. Shawna created a more personalized email campaign by using data the brand already had available about relevant customer experiences.

To begin, Shawna wanted to change Microsoft Store’s email marketing strategy to make it more personalized, but she lacked the IT resources she needed. To meet this challenge, she developed a plan that would personalize the brand’s email strategy without utilizing IT.

Shawna accomplished this by collecting data that Microsoft Store already had on its consumer base and testing Microsoft Store’s email sends based on this data. Overall, this effort resulted in a:

  • 500% increase in CTR for segmented emails
  • 300% increase in open rate for segmented emails
  • 1,200% overall revenue increase in three years
  • 600% increase in revenue per email (for lifecycle)

Learn how, by implementing this data-centric approach, Shawna was able to transform an email send that almost every consumer receives — the receipt — into a successful first touchpoint.



Building a customer journey

The first thing Shawna had to do was develop customer segments. To create these, she looked at past customer behaviors and data that her brand had collected.

“We have our data sources,” Shawna said. “We know where they’ve shopped. We know what they bought. We know where they are, and we’ve created these segment groups based on all of this data.”

These insights allowed Shawna to build customer segments and curate information that would appeal to each of these segments.

According to Shawna, Microsoft Store is not one-to-one yet, “but we’re striving for that.”


Select content that addresses known pain points

After developing these segments, Shawna used the data Microsoft Store had on pain points to personalize customers’ receipts. A transactional send was chosen to start with this email redesign because everyone receives transactional sends and they are not contingent on consumers opting in. Also, these sends contain the most data integration.

Shawna decided to build the customer segmentation profiles for this send based off of major product categories:

  • Xbox
  • PC
  • Office

This segmentation allowed Shawna to customize the send based on the specific pain points the data had shown each of these consumers had.

Personalizing the brick-and-mortar receipt for Microsoft Store


“This is their first experience with us,” Shawna explained. “How are they going to agree to promotional communications if I can’t even get this first touch right?”

Currently, she said, “we are iterating on this and trying to take feedback and look at what they’re clicking on, what they aren’t clicking on and make this first communication count.”


You can follow Kayla Cobb, Reporter, MECLABS Institute, on Twitter at @itskaylacobb.


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Take 15 minutes to complete the 2015 MarketingSherpa Marketing Practices Survey, and get a free pre-release copy of the August 2015 MarketingSherpa Consumer Purchase Preference Survey plus a chance to win a free, three-day ticket to MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 in Las Vegas OR an iPad Air 2. The deadline is September 28.

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MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 Video Replays

Email Marketing: Microsoft Store segmentation campaign increases overall revenue 1,200% in three years [MarketingSherpa case study]

Email Marketing: Microsoft Store uses relevance to increase sends by 300% and email revenue by 600% [MarketingSherpa case study]

Email Marketing: Leveraging user data increases send relevancy for concert promoters [MarketingSherpa case study]

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015: Top takeaways and strategies from experts and marketers in the field [MarketingSherpa case study]

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