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Nicholas Holder Business Development Team Manager Movable Ink

How Can Digital Retailers Use Contextual Marketing?

Successful marketing is based on trust, but for many consumers that trust is broken. Case in point: the average person sees 1,700 banner ads per month, and yet click-through rates on banner ads are only .1%. Additionally, 87% of people say they don’t trust ads on websites.

Contextual marketing has the power to change that. When you create a contextual marketing experience, you send your customers relevant, targeted content. Contextual experiences build trust, helping you develop long-lasting and profitable relationships with your customers.

When you combine context and email marketing, you get incredible ROI. Email marketing has an average return of $44.25 for every dollar spent, and contextual email marketing can increase that return by more than double. If you’re not using contextual email marketing, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to engage with your customers and drive more sales.

Digital retailers can take advantage of contextual email marketing in a variety of ways.


According to  Experian, personalized promotional mailings have 29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates than non-personalized mailings. In this example, Mr. Porter used personalization as part of a reactivation campaign to nudge customers to make another purchase.


Location can play a huge role in the way your customers interact with your brand. Sports apparel companies can take advantage of location by promoting jerseys from local teams.

App/device targeting

Have an app? Promote it to those opening your emails on their mobile device to encourage downloads. American Eagle saw a 231% lift in click-to-downloads when they used device targeting to promote their app.

Real-time testing and optimization

Testing is important for any industry, and real-time testing can elevate click-through rates like few things can. When digital retailer Allen Edmonds used real-time optimization to test these two emails, the winner saw a 114% lift in click-through-rates.

Weather targeting

Weather targeting ensure you’re promoting the right apparel to the right customers. You can use local forecasts to promote warm or cold weather apparel to create a buying experience that is relevant to your customers.

Real-time inventory

Want to provide an up-to-the-minute inventory to help customers stay on top of your latest offerings? A real-time inventory can pull your product information directly from your website or API. Since the email will update automatically, your customers can refresh the email to see if their favorite items are still in stock.

Time-targeted offers

Contextual marketing gives you a clever way to promote limited-time sales. You can launch a sale and give your customer real-time updates within your email about how much time they have left to buy. Once the sale is over, you can promote a new offer for anyone who missed it.

Social integration

Want to promote user generated content or show off your social feed? You can pull in your social channel of choice to encourage engagement and get more followers.

Live polling

Increase engagement and collect data from your customers by including a live poll in your email. In your poll, you can ask customers about their preferences between your products and allow them to see the poll results right in the email. Here’s how The Limited did it.

Contextual marketing: A big opportunity for digital retailers

If you’re a digital retailer and you’re looking to drive engagement and increase sales, look no further than contextual email marketing. Retailers have a lot of flexibility in the ways they can use contextual marketing, so try one of these strategies in an upcoming campaign and see what resonates best with your customers.