Target’s personalized loyalty program launches nationwide next month – gpgmail

Target today announced its new, data-driven loyalty program, Target Circle, will launch nationwide on October, 6th, following a year and a half of beta testing in select markets. The program combines a variety of features including 1% back on purchases, birthday rewards, and personalized offers and savings designed to make the program more attractive to consumers.

It also includes a way for customers to vote on Target’s community giving initiatives, which helps directs Target’s giving to around 800 nonprofits in the U.S.

The new program is designed to lure in customers who have yet to adopt Target’s store card, REDcard. While REDcard penetration today is around 23%, that number has remained fairly consistent over time — in fact, it’s down about one percentage point from a year ago.

With Target Circle, however, the retailer has another means of generating loyalty and establishing a connection with its customers on a more individualized basis.

A big part of that is the personalized aspect of the Target Circle program. In addition to the “birthday perks” (an easy way to grab some demographic data), customers will also get special discounts on the categories they “shop most often” — meaning, Target will be tapping into its treasure trove of customer purchase history to make recommendations from both in-store and online purchases along with other signals.

“As guests shop, Target leverages information about their shopping behaviors and purchases to share relevant offers that create an even more personalized, seamless shopping experience,” a company spokesperson explained, when asked for details about the data being used. “For example, a guest who frequently shops Target for baby products may receive a special offer on their next purchase of baby items.”

TargetCircle NonBeta 19 Brand RGB Logo Red

According to a recent retail study from Avionos, 78% of consumers are more likely to purchase from retailers that better personalize their experiences and 63% are more open to sharing personal information if retailers can better anticipate needs.

And as some may recall, Target is already scary good at personalization.

In one notable case, the retailer figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did, and sent her coupons for baby items. The dad, understandably, was angry — until he found out that Target was right.

That story was a high-profile example of the data collection and analysis big retailers are doing all the time, though. Target Circle simply formalizes this into an opt-in program instead of an opt-out experience.

As part of the changes, Target’s Cartwheel savings are rolling into Target Circle where they’ll be rebranded as Target Circle offers. 

TargetCircle inApp

Circle members will also get early access to special sales throughout the year — that is, the events people line up for, like they did for the Lilly Pulitzer fashion line or more recently, the quickly sold out Vineyard Vines collection.

Target says, in time, it will come up with “even more personalized, relevant ways” to make shopping easier for its customers.

The new program is meant to complement the REDcard, which will increase the cashback to 5% when used. But REDcard holders can still join Circle to take advantage of the other perks.


“Our guests are at the center of everything we do, and we’re always looking for ways to create even easier, more rewarding shopping experiences that give them another reason to choose Target,” said Rick Gomez, Target executive vice president, and chief marketing and digital officer, in a statement. “We worked directly with guests to develop Target Circle, and the program includes the benefits and perks they told us were most important to them, from earning on every trip to having the opportunity to help Target make a positive impact in their local communities,” he said.

The loyalty program had been in testing in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Charlotte, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City and Phoenix over the past 18 months.

Though not having Amazon’s scale, Target has done well at quickly innovating to keep up with today’s pace of e-commerce. In short order, it has made over its stores to make more room for order pickups and online grocery, and has launched and expanded new services like Target Restock (next-day), Shipt (same day delivery) and Drive Up (same day pickup). The changes have been paying off with Target beating on its latest earnings with $18.42 billion in revenue and profits of $938 million.


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Customizing Emails: The Two Fundamental Tools

Imagine sending emails that are automatically composed with content that best matches each recipient. It’s easy: let’s take a look at two customization features you can use to improve performance and conversions.

If you follow our blog, you surely know this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about customizing emails. It’s a broad topic on which we invest a great deal of our technological development and training resources.

sort a few things out, distinguishing four
 of the email that can be customized:

marked this last item with a check because it’s what we’ll be focusing on
today, exploring two fundamental
customization features
. Let’s begin.

Email customization tools

We’re going to look at two tools that let you automate the process of customizing emails and campaigns, raising their degree of relevance, to the full benefit of the fundamental metrics of email marketing: click-through rates and conversion rates.

The two features we’ll look at are both available in the MailUp platform, and can be activated on request. The first is within the reach of all companies, the second requires skills with HTML and Liquid markup language.

Conditional display

being able to customize emails by applying display rules for lines and entire parts of the message, which
will be filled automatically with the most
suitable content for each recipient

possible, and it’s also very simple: the perfect tool is Conditional display, which lets
companies set a filter in one (or more) blocks of the email during the message
creation phase.

practice, Conditional display lets you deliver emails to recipients which
contain images and texts in line with their characteristicspreferences, and needs. But let’s dive a little deeper.

How does it work?

start with a practical example: imagine we want to create an email for the new
collection of jeans available on our e-commerce site. We’ll need to show our
male users the men’s collection,
while women will be shown the women’s
, as in the example below:

are only a few simple steps:

1. Create the display conditions

you need to create the rules to
apply to the lines of content. Use Filters to do this (in the section Recipients
> Filters) which can regard personal data, type of business,
geographic, by device. To use Conditional display we only need to use the Personal data filters.

create two gender-based filters:

  • WOMEN customers
  • MEN customers

2. Apply the display rules

  • Open the email or create one from scratch with
    the drag & drop editor
  • Choose
    the content form
     to apply the condition to and click on it
  • On the menu on the left, choose Forms and Select condition
  • Select the filter you want to apply
  • Repeat
    the procedure 
    and apply the Women filter to the other line as well.

3. Display the preview

the message has been created and the conditions have been applied, all that you
have left to do is display the preview.
Apply the corresponding filter in the message preview to display the final

What happens when a recipient does not fall under a filter condition? Simple, the feature is not activated and no content is displayed.

Email customization engine

what if instead you want to send communications to your recipients with constantly updated and customized content,
without having to manually retrieve them from the site or blog?

this case the fundamental feature is the Customization engine, which uses Liquid markup language to create
emails with real-time content
retrieved from a site or from a page outside
 MailUp (such as a site,
blog, or an online store) that are customizable for each recipient.

As the Customization engine is an advanced feature, it requires skills using HTML and Liquid markup language. You can find more information on how to create Liquid syntax here.

How does it work?

1. Create the external service

service must be created on your site. It must be a public URL that accepts a unique ID as a parameter (e.g.
email, customer ID, etc.).

2. Set up the service on MailUp

the menu on the left, select Configurations > Advanced
 > Customization > New Endpoint. Then
you must set the following information:

  • Endpoint
    : identifying name of the service that will respond with the
  • Endpoint
    : URL of the service that is called by MailUp to obtain the data
  • Authorization: to be activated to
    enable the endpoint itself if access is required
  • Custom
    HTTP headers
    : lets you add additional information using your server as a
  • New
    : this section is used to set the values that are passed to the
    endpoint (e.g. Customer ID, City, Date cart abandoned, etc.)

3. Create the message

this point everything is ready to create the message, via HTML or with the drag
& drop editor. The email must contain one or more HTML forms in which to insert the Liquid code. Here is an example of a
template with HTML forms:

4. Send the campaign

the message has been created, you have to associate
the endpoint
 created during step 2 on your MailUp platform. On the
message Summary page, select Advanced Options > Enable
advanced customization
 and enter the endpoint name under Endpoint.

MailUp sends the campaign, it will query the preset endpoint URLs for each
recipient and the tags built with
Liquid will be replaced
the values
 obtained from this query.

Use cases

Customization engine lends itself very well to multiple use cases. Here are
some examples:

  • Recommended products
    A real estate company can send a weekly email to its customers containing all the new announcements for houses in the area where they currently reside.
  • Abandoned cart
    An e-commerce site can set up a follow-up email to be sent to customers one day after their order was abandoned, containing all or some of the items left in the cart. Here are two examples of workflows:
    ›› Abandoned cart workflow: send emails to propose the products in the cart again
    ›› Dynamic workflows based on clicks (recommended products): users who click on specific products will receive an email offering similar products
  • Real-time segmentation
    A company operating in the large-scale retail trade can use the customization engine to send coupons localized by geographic area.

Combining features with consulting: Liquid support

mentioned before, Conditional display and the Customization engine are two
features of the MailUp platform that only need to be activated, and can
be managed independently by
each company.

there is another possibility here. In fact, MailUp offers a consulting service called Liquid support, which is divided into
two solutions:

Total support
This lets companies entrust MailUp with the management of all activities aimed at creating a responsive communication, including Liquid markup, to allow maximum content customization.

A coaching service that includes:

  • Technical
    email analysis
    , to identify those parts of the message that can be translated
    into Liquid language
  • The
    drafting and delivery of a document 
    which, for each element of the identified
    email, provides guidelines for managing content using Liquid language.

To sum up

Customization is perhaps the key topic of email marketing for companies that want to take their strategies to an advanced level.

This is because the ability to increase the degree of emails’ relevance strongly affects the most important email marketing metrics: clicks and conversions, on which the return on investment directly depends.

you haven’t done so yet, we suggest taking the first steps in this direction:

Try MailUp'

what you can do with Filters

Let’s look at the activities which can be performed with them to take your Email Marketing strategy to an advanced level.

Our launch post promised you new filters and we are now ready to go, initiating a cycle of publications dedicated to segmentation and email personalisation tools.

Today’s post is an overview of everything a company can do with the advanced filters. As you will discover, our objective is to show you how segmentation, personalisation and automation activities may be linked to each other.

A mixture of functions which unleashes the full potential of Email Marketing because, as we are always saying, the future is in one to one relationships with customers.

You can do everything with the new filters

Advanced Filters allow you to link different conditions together and define target recipients with maximum precision. This results in an ever-increasing potential for engagement and conversion of emails.

To summarise the innovations, with the new Filters you can:

  • Create a filter by linking up to 20 different conditions
  • Create subsets and condition hierarchies
  • Obtain a preview of the segment created
  • Share the filter with all the lists
  • Create a copy of the filter.

However, as we will see, filters play a fundamental role in other Email & SMS Marketing activities, as they assist in personalisation and automation operations as well as in segmentation.

Let’s look at the possible uses of the Filters, point by point.

1. Performing advanced searches and identifying new target segments

Let’s start with the simplest, though not the least important: searching for a segment within the database.

Searching with a filter will allow you to check your database’s composition: in other words, you have an extra ally to guide your campaigns according to your business. Filters allow you to understand which, and how many, targets you can direct your brand at, thus saying farewell to mass mailings and creating a set of diversified campaigns on the basis of the characteristics, interests and specifics of your database.

In this way, thanks to the filters, you can perform searches to find various targets to whom similar Email or SMS campaigns may correspond.

2. Launching segmented campaigns in detail

Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. You’ve designed the campaign, you’ve created it, all you have to do is send it. The filters allow you to find the right target in just a few clicks.

The new MailUp filters are so advanced that, within a database of, let’s say, 100,000 contacts, you can search for and identify even the smallest niche of recipients in line with the campaign.

The more limited the segment identified, the greater will be the campaign’s performance as it will definitely be relevant to those recipients. What advantage would there be in sending it to all 100,000 contacts in the database? None, in fact there are probably somewhat contraindications, such as a higher rate of unsubscription.

Let’s take an example of segmentation with filters. In this hypothetical campaign we have selected two:

  • 1 activity filter: First send
  • 1 personal data filter: women

Within a database of almost 50,000 contacts, the filter detected a sample of 13 contacts in line with the preset conditions. This is an extreme case but it illustrates the filters’ potential; how they allow identification of the target for each campaign.

3. Converting a combination of filters into a Group

After the target has been identified, the brand will very probably want to send further campaigns to that same segment in the following months.

In other words, that segment becomes a consolidated rather than an improvised target for the company, to be nurtured over time.

In this way filters can help to create a new Group. To create this group, you go to Recipients >Groups and click on the NEW GROUP button in the upper right corner.

After choosing the name of the Group, you click the Actions button and select the View email or View SMS function: you can now access the searches of the recipients with the filters.

4. Exporting the Group of recipients

Anyone who works in Email Marketing has found themselves, or at some time or another will find themselves, exporting contacts in the form of an Excel or csv file.

To do this you go to the Recipients >Export page. At the top of the page, you make sure you select the Export label and you choose how to segment the recipients for a targeted export: we will do it by group membership. Finally, you choose the format of the export file and click the Export button. So simple.

Once the export is finished, you click on the top Export list section. You now click the Actions button and then Download. You can open the file or save it to your computer.

5. Automating the personalisation of emails

We have now reached one of the most advanced uses of filters. This is aimed at personalising emails by applying rules for displaying lines and entire sections of the message. These will be automatically filled in with the most suitable content for each recipient.

To do this, tou use the Conditional Display function as well as the filters. This allows you to apply a filter for one (or more) blocks of the email when creating the message. Basically, Conditional display allows you to deliver emails to recipients which contain images and texts in line with their characteristics, preferences and needs.

The following is an example of an email in which Conditional display has been applied to show products for women or men according to the recipient.

Differentiation is possible thanks to the Filters, which will be applied to the content module.

6. Setting up an automatic mail

Filters are also essential for activating a triggered message, be it an Email or an SMS.

By combining Filters and Marketing Automation functions you can, for example, activate automatic mail to customers who have made a purchase in the last 30 days.

Alternatively, a common scenario in e-commerce, you can send abandoned basket recovery emails. We will use a personal data filter and an activity filter to create this automatic function. The following is an example of a possible flow:

As we said, to create it you need to apply a personal data filter which searches for all recipients who abandoned their basket three hours ago.

Another filter will be needed for the reminder, this time an activity filter, to segment the recipients who received the first email and opened it exactly 24 hours ago.

7. Setting up an automatic campaign

Last, but not least, the use of filters to create an automatic campaign.

What do we mean? We mean emails and newsletters which are automatically composed, by taking external content from a source and inserting it into the body of the message.

This type of campaign is based on two elements:

  • The sources: these are like chests storing your contents. You can install these in the email via RSS or ATOM Feed or via a File, by uploading a .csv, .json or .zip file (max 5MB)
  • Content modules: those elements which, when inserted into the body of the message, will be automatically filled in with the content stored in the source.

Filters are also essential for this type of campaign because they allow you to segment your audience by selecting different target recipients. An E-commerce campaign can, for example, create two different automatic campaigns:

  1. An automatic campaign for men, so as to only automatically forward the latest new items in the men’s catalogue to male contacts
  2. An automatic campaign for women, so as to only automatically forward the latest new items in the women’s catalogue to female contacts.

there are lots of possibilities.

To sum up

We wanted, with this article, to show you just how linked and interdependent segmentation, personalisation and automation activities are and how indispensable filters are in these activities.

Our desire is to make more and more companies take a one to one approach with customers and prospects, and to make advanced use of Email Marketing technologies which, as you must have noted, are available to everyone.

Finally, if you haven’t already tried MailUp, we invite you to request a free trial of the platform. You will have 30 days to try all the features and tools seen so far. See you soon!

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