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Ashley Stewart links email coupons to mobile wallets for easier use

With a growing number of customers opening email from smartphones, specialty retail chain Ashley Stewart is making email coupons easier to save and redeem by integrating them with Passbook, Google Wallet and the SnipSnap mobile application.

The plus-size women’s apparel retailer has an active email marketing strategy targeting prospects and loyal customers. With the focus of its email program increasingly on coupon promotions, the company recognized a need to make it as easy as possible for on-the-go customers to use digital coupons.

“We are trying to be more nimble as a business, and this is one of the platforms that allows us to be more nimble and to get information and coupons out there that we think is going to drive business for us,” said Larry Gray, director of CRM at Ashley Stewart, Secaucus, NJ

“It is more traffic driving for us,” he said. “And the email widget allows our customers to actually capture the coupon to their phone.”

Optimized for mobile
Mobile email opens continue to grow and reach up to 70 percent for some retailers. With this in mind, Ashley Stewart optimized its email for mobile a while ago.

However, mobile email opens present a challenge for retailers delivering coupons as the traditional call-to-action – “print this coupon” – does not apply and saving coupons in the inbox can make it difficult for customers to find them again when they are ready to use the coupon.

To address this problem, SnipSnap, which enables users to snap a photo of any print coupon and save it to their smartphone, created a widget that can be embedded in a retailer’s email. The widget enables recipients to save coupons to Passbook, Google Wallet or the SnipSnap app.

That way, when customers are in a store, all they need to do is pull out their phone to redeem a coupon.

Higher conversion rates
After discovering its customers were already using the SnipSnap app to capture the retailer’s coupons from  its direct mail pieces, Ashley Stewart began working with SnipSnap at the end of October to deliver coupon creative into the app.

Last week, the retailer began sending out emails with the embedded coupon widget featuring a variety of different offers, such as 25 percent off a $100 purchase or an incentive for customers to use the Ashley Stewart credit card.

Mr. Gray reports that the initial results are promising in terms of the number of people who are snipping through the email widget.

“Our conversion rates and open rates on the mobile applications, especially with SnipSnap, are better than what we are seeing with email,” Mr. Gray said.

“We are getting in front of a lot people with our mobile strategy, more than we were previously getting in front of,” he said.

“Before, our return on ad spend was probably $9 or $10, and I am seeing in these programs the return on ad spend eclipse that significantly, seven, eight times what I used to get.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York