Audience: Email Addresses and Permissions
Audience allows you to find groups of customers with particular characteristics so that you can reach them with hyper-relevant promotional material. But to reach a customer, you need two things: the customer's email address and the customers' permission to contact them.
After you create an Audience, you can download a list of emails from Hello Retail that can be uploaded to your newsletter platform, and you are ready to send out cool stuff to relevant customers. But if Hello Retail don't know the emails of the customers, there's no way to reach them. And if we know the email address, but there's no permission, we will mask the email address, so you don't accidentally send them an email against their wishes—and against regulations. Therefore, email addresses and permission are essential for utilizing Audience to its full capabilities.
Unidentified customer vs. identified customer
When a customer visits your webshop, a unique cookie is generated that allows Hello Retail to track the browsing and purchasing patterns. From then on, the customer has a unique profile in our database, to which we will add more and more data. Thereby we can present the customer with relevant, personalized content on your shop in the browser if you are using Product Recommendations from Hello Retail.
But the customer is, by default, just "a customer" and we don't know anything about who the customer is. So there's no way to reach out to the customer directly by email utilizing the stored data. Therefore, it is crucial to link the customer's cookie to an email address, so that the stored data can be used for Triggered Emails, Newsletter Content, and, relevant for this guide, Audience.
Linking cookie and email address
There are a few ways for you to help Hello Retail link a customers' cookie to an email address.
Add a tag to your newsletter links
In this article, we describe how to improve tracking through your newsletters. And by "improve tracking" we mean linking the customer cookie to an email address. It works by inserting a tracking parameter after links in your newsletters. When a customer clicks a link with the added parameter, the customer will be directed to your shop as usual, but the parameter will allow Hello Retail to pick up the email address and link it to the cookie. Now the customer is no longer just "a customer" in Hello Retails database but an identified customer. You can then reach this customer with material based on the data stored by Hello Retail - that is if you have permission to do so. More on permissions later.
Email address from conversion tracking
If you are using a shop platform supporting a Hello Retail extension, and that extension has been installed, you are most likely tracking conversion data. That means that we are collecting data about each order, including order amount, products, and email address. Then every customer who has made a purchase on your shop will be identified, and the cookie will be linked to the email address. Therefore, and for many other reasons, it is essential that we are tracking conversion data correctly.
One way to check if you are tracking conversion data correctly is to log into your Hello Retail account and click Conversions.
If you are not tracking conversion data at all, there will be a message telling you that no conversion data is available. If that is the case, please make sure that the correct Hello Retail extension is installed. You can find a list of platforms and the installation procedure here.
If you see data, you can go into detail by clicking a specific order.
Under the specific order, you can see the data tracked, and it should include the email address of the customer. If not, there might be an issue with conversion tracking. You can contact the Hello Retail support, and we will figure out what could be wrong.
When the customers are identified, there's still a critical factor to consider before you can contact the customer—you need their permission to do so. And just as important, you need to synchronize the permissions to the Hello Retail database.
Usually, you obtain permission to send out promotional material on your webshop through subscription to a newsletter or similar. The process is usually managed by your newsletter platform, where the list of emails with permission is stored. You should regularly synchronize this list to Hello Retails database so that our permission list reflects the latest data. If Hello Retail don't have the permission, we will mask the email address as "anonymous" in your Audiences. So, we might know the email address, but we don't have a permission in the database. By masking the email address, we make sure that you don't accidentally ship them a promotional email that, by definition, will be spam—bad times for everyone involved. Another scenario we want to avoid is if the permissions in our database have not been updated after a customer retracts a permission. Then you risk sending them promotional material after the fact—again, bad times.
Several newsletter platforms allow for automatic permission synchronization with Hello Retail, and you can find guides on how to set it up here. It is recommended to have the automatic synchronization set up so that our database is always up to date. If your newsletter platform can't synchronize automatically, we have a guide on how to do it manually—you can find it here. If you do it manually, you should create a reminder to make sure you do it regularly.
With email addresses tracked and permissions synced, you are all set for using Audience!