The Email Journeys That Give Kamera Express a 6x Increase in CTR

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This is a podcast episode titled, The Email Journeys That Give Kamera Express a 6x Increase in CTR. The summary for this episode is: <p>Kamera Express helps customers capture the best moments of their lives. The specialist retailer not only sells photography and video equipment, but has a passion for educating their customers on their products.</p><p>They turned to Selligent’s marketing automation solution to increase engagement on their email campaigns and to drive customers in-store. By identifying topics their audience cared about and segmenting them into different journeys, they were able to capture a click-through rate that was an astounding 6x hiring than their normal CTR.</p><p>Even better, Selligent’s automation allowed a small team to scale their campaigns in exceptional ways.</p><h5>Takeaways:</h5><ol><li>They saw a click-through rate 6x higher than their normal 6% rate&nbsp;</li><li>When focusing on retargeting campaigns for their mirrorless cameras, their click rates were 12% higher</li><li>They’ve amassed over 400k users in their database</li></ol><p><br></p>
How Kamera Express uses email to personalize customer communications
01:27 MIN
Using website data & Selligent to turn unknown consumers into known.
01:29 MIN
How does Kamera Express use data to create personalized messaging that leads to conversions?
01:53 MIN
The Selligent platform helps brands create a single view of the customer.
00:52 MIN
How to take sales data and create a journey or promotion inside of an email for a segment of customers
02:18 MIN
The importance of clean data to send more inspirational content & increase customer retention.
01:12 MIN
Using Selligent for after-sale services to gauge consumer happiness.
00:39 MIN
Operating with Selligent in 10+ countries & over 13 languages
01:15 MIN
Using Selligent to manage 4-5 brands under Kamera Express
01:22 MIN
The benefits & freedom of Selligent's UI platform
01:06 MIN
Implementing personalization at scale is the future! Selligent can help even the smallest marketing teams achieve it.
03:17 MIN

Tim Glomb: I absolutely love traveling like tens of millions of other humans. But a big part of the experience for me is taking photos of these amazing places I get to visit. In fact, here are some photos I took the night I got here to the Netherlands. Now whether you snap your travel photos on your phone, have professional gear or like me, a hobbyists, have something in between, Kamera Express has Europe covered for all your photography needs. They are a true omnichannel retailer in that they have online e- com but also have brick and mortar, but they differentiate against their competition by adopting a relationship marketing strategy. That means they strive to build better relationships with their consumer audience. In fact, they're able to take interest and web behavior data and append that when a new contact is created in their CRM. And that allows them to create deeply personalized messages, offers, and experiences. And they power all this with the Selligent Marketing Cloud. And I want to know how. And that's why I'm here today outside of Rotterdam at Kamera Express's first ever brick and mortar location to meet Sharif and talk about their email marketing practices. Well, Sharif, thank you for having me. I love your store here. This is your first door that you guys ever opened, right?

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. Perfect.

Tim Glomb: Glad we're here. Tell me a little bit about your role here at Kamera Express.

Sharif Hussainali: My name is Sharif Hussainali. I'm responsible for CRM marketing at Kamera Express. My main goal is to upgrade our communication and make it more personalized.

Tim Glomb: Make it personalized.

Sharif Hussainali: Make it personalized.

Tim Glomb: Well look, I love CRM, Customer Relationship management platform. We're all about relationship marketing.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes.

Tim Glomb: So let's talk a little bit about that in respect to what you're doing with Kamera Express. How is the email channel, what is its main goal for you here at Kamera Express?

Sharif Hussainali: At Kamera Express email marketing is one of our most important channel. It's our own channel so we don't have to put a lot of budget to it, and we get the chance to personalize our communications to a lot of our customers.

Tim Glomb: No, you nailed it. I mean, you don't have to put a lot of budget to it. Unlike advertising, where you have to reach in your pocket every month to reach people with your messaging.

Sharif Hussainali: Exactly.

Tim Glomb: When you start to build up an email database, you can actually reach them with low cost messages. From a relationship management perspective, what are some of the journeys you're creating for people and how do they work between your website, the email, and what you're sending out?

Sharif Hussainali: We noticed we have different types of customers at Kamera Express. So we have the small hobbyist, but we also have professional photographers. So we try to contact each different type of customer in a certain way. We have welcome flows that emphasize all of our different services. For example, downstairs you can rent a camera at Kamera Express, you can buy a camera, and down the street you can print your photography.

Tim Glomb: So literally a full 360 experience for everything photography.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. Exactly. Kamera Express is focused on building a community for image builders. Everything you need to build an image, we have it.

Tim Glomb: It's all right here.

Sharif Hussainali: It's all right here.

Tim Glomb: Relationship marketing, you kind of have to start... There's unknown consumers, they find you or they're looking for products. How do you actually convert them? Explain to me how somebody might browse your website and you're listening to that, and then eventually they join your mailing list, but you already have their interest categories. How does that work?

Sharif Hussainali: Yes, of course. We started with a market research to determine what types of customers we have. And by knowing what type of customers there are, we install Selligent Marketing Cloud and we use Selligent Marketing Cloud to track our customers. On one side anonymous customers, but we also identify customers and we gather all the data and use it to personalize the communications.

Tim Glomb: So, which I did last week, I go to your website, I'm unknown. I start looking at maybe Canon cameras or mirrorless cameras.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes.

Tim Glomb: You'll start tracking that behavior on the website. And when I convert, either from a newsletter sign up, maybe an event or another promotion where you get my email address-

Sharif Hussainali: Yes.

Tim Glomb: That all gets appended to my record. And now you continue that journey because you already have some information about what I like, right?

Sharif Hussainali: Yes, correct. We look at our customers and we see what they bought in the past, and we also add our interest data to that. So when you're browsing our websites and you're looking at a mirrorless camera, for example, we use those data and we add it to your profile and we personalize our communications and our advertisements on that basis.

Tim Glomb: Got it. Let's break this down a little bit. So what are the kinds of email content, newsletters or personalized journeys, what typically can somebody expect to get from Kamera Express via the email channel?

Sharif Hussainali: When you sign up for the newsletter, you always get our basic newsletter once a week. And also, once a week you'll get a one product highlighted, which is a big deal.

Tim Glomb: So two emails per week.

Sharif Hussainali: Two emails per week. But when you're interacting with our emails, you'll get set aside. For example, if we notice you are looking at the lenses, you'll get a lens email the next week and you won't get to the newsletter.

Tim Glomb: Oh, got it. So basically, once somebody starts engaging, which is the second phase of relationship marketing, once they really start to get that interactive engagement, you'll take them out of a generic welcome inaudible workflow and really start to custom tailor content based on their interest or activity.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes, correct. We track all of our communications. So for example, if you click on a Canon product, we know you have clicked on a Cannon product. If you do it more than once, we'll know you are a Canon fan. If you click on multiple lenses, for example, landscape lenses, we'll know you are looking into landscape lenses and we'll pick the right content for you and we'll send the right content to you to convert better or easier.

Tim Glomb: It totally converts better. I mean, you see better lifts and rates.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. Yes. We know the camera market is very generic so we try to emphasize our communications on the right level.

Tim Glomb: I mean, this makes total sense. I don't care what your industry is or what you do, what you sell, or what service you offer, the more you listen, which is a huge part of relationship marketing.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes.

Tim Glomb: Brands can talk at people with whatever they feel like they want to send an email. But when you start listening to those engagements, those web signals, and you start putting that into one data profile, you can create more intelligent and more personalized messaging.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. Yeah. We also use our business data, so our sales data, and we all put all of those data in Selligent. We use the SDS Pro module for that. We combine interaction data with sales data, and we create specific segments for smaller batches of emails.

Tim Glomb: Wow, got it. So bringing in more data points, mixing all that inside the Selligent platform, you have a single view of your customer basically?

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. We actually don't use any external services. We run our website on a note of a CMS called Novulo, but besides that, we are only running Selligent to use our automation.

Tim Glomb: That's amazing. I mean, that's the power of marketing cloud.

Sharif Hussainali: Exactly. We have a lot of modules. We have the Selligent Marketing Cloud Module to perform our email marketing. We have the site module to perform tracking on our website to create reporting segments, show offers to specific segments. We also have the Cortex module, which we use to create recommendations for our customers. And we used SDS Pro module to create the segments we need.

Tim Glomb: So full suite, one big platform that gets it all done.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes, exactly.

Tim Glomb: All right. So some people watching right now are going, " Okay, that sounds all great, personalized, et cetera. But I have sales goals. I have a quarterly, someone's telling me I got to sell XYZ product. We have too many of it in the warehouse." Can you give us an example of how you might take sales data and create a journey or offer or promotion inside of an email for a segment of customers?

Sharif Hussainali: Yes, definitely. For example, we know the camera market is very brand related. So we use our sales data from the past to gather email addresses that are connected to a specific brand, for example, a Canon brand. And we select all of those customers and we build specific email flows to them. Every year Canon has a big cash back and we gather all the emails for the Canon segments and we mail them the offer at the right time.

Tim Glomb: Got it. So that's one way to use your email and segmentation. If you're understanding, listening to these signals from your consumer database, now when you have that ripe offer for say Canon or Nikon, whomever it might be, you can activate in real time.

Sharif Hussainali: So it doesn't have to be sales data, it's can also be interaction data. For example, we use site to track website visits, but we also track what products our user is visiting. So if we see a user is visiting a lot of lenses, we can put them in another basket and that helps us tremendously.

Tim Glomb: Yeah, I'm sure. And I assume you're doing all the typical things, the run of the mill, like abandoned cart emails triggered if somebody abandons cart, et cetera.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes.

Tim Glomb: And those are kind of... I mean, you're sophisticated. That's a table stakes idea, like" Oh yeah, if they abandoned a cart, send them an email."

Sharif Hussainali: It's a must have, the abandoned cart email. We do use Selligent to provide personalization in abandoned cart email as well. For example, every abandoned cart has specific products in them. We take the highest price product of the abundant carts, and we use that to generate more recommendations. So for example, if a customer has one camera in its basket, we can recommend different cameras that are on the same level.

Tim Glomb: Got it.

Sharif Hussainali: So we are not going to advise a camera that's 200 euros, for example, if you're having a basket that's over 1000.

Tim Glomb: Yeah, sure. Well, why would you try and sell them something smaller?

Sharif Hussainali: Yeah, exactly.

Tim Glomb: No, that makes a lot of sense. So these tags and this database, obviously clean data is very important, both from your product SKU but also the things that you're getting from customers. Do you find if you have clean data, it's really easy to work with?

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. In the past we didn't have clean data, so we were walking against the wall. So we noticed what we were doing wasn't working anymore. Around three years ago, we stopped sending generic newsletters to everyone. We used to send an email twice a week with around 40, 50 products in them. Total nonsense.

Tim Glomb: Yeah.

Sharif Hussainali: No one knows what to look at. So we cut them in half, set a rule for ourselves to create more inspirational content, and we used the products to emphasize the inspirational content.

Tim Glomb: Got it. So inspirational content might be how to videos or tips and techniques?

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. Kamera Express offers different types of services. For example, we have our own academy, which consists of 15 free courses you can take, which all revolves around building a better photographer.

Tim Glomb: Wow. Yeah, of course.

Sharif Hussainali: If a customer has a better photographer, he is going to need more equipment in the end.

Tim Glomb: And that's a retention and loyalty play there.

Sharif Hussainali: Exactly.

Tim Glomb: Let's talk a little bit about that. So if somebody buys something in your basket, you can obviously through the data, recommend other accessories or products down the lane that they might need to enhance their skills.

Sharif Hussainali: Exactly. We use Selligent for a lot of after sale services. For example, if you buy a product, you automatically receive an email that would request a score, a net promoter score.

Tim Glomb: Yep.

Sharif Hussainali: It's a simple form, but it's all built and saved in Selligent. So all of the data is again, put to a profile so we know what you like, if you're happy or not. And if you're not happy, we can discontinue our newsletters for a week or two.

Tim Glomb: Sure.

Sharif Hussainali: So everything to keep the photographer happy.

Tim Glomb: Wow. I mean, it sounds fairly sophisticated. You must have an army in your email marketing team.

Sharif Hussainali: That's the fun part. We pretty much done all of this with just three people in our office.

Tim Glomb: Three people run this all out of the Selligent campaign? And remind me how many channels, how many countries you serve again.

Sharif Hussainali: We are currently operating with Selligent in over 10 countries, and we've set up Selligent to work in over 13 languages.

Tim Glomb: 13 languages.

Sharif Hussainali: 13 languages.

Tim Glomb: Talk a little bit about that. That's got to be a nightmare. How does the Selligent platform help you manage all this different language need?

Sharif Hussainali: Yeah, actually Selligent is pretty awesome to do that. We just built multiple organizations within Selligent. For example, Budgetcam our rental department has its own organization, Profotonet our printing department has its own organization, and Kamera Express for all of its websites has one organization with all of the data per label. That's awesome because we can use the data from our Budgetcam rental department in our own office. For example, if we can see someone is looking at a expensive camera but is not going to buy it, why not recommend to try it?

Tim Glomb: Why not rent it? Yeah.

Sharif Hussainali: Try it for the day. If you like it, you'll buy it.

Tim Glomb: Yeah, I mean that makes total sense. So again, it's about listening. It's about getting the signals and determining, hey, somebody really would like this product, maybe can't afford it, but we have a rental division. That's excellent. And you also have other brands, right? Because you've acquired some other brands in market.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes.

Tim Glomb: How do you manage that from an external email process?

Sharif Hussainali: Again, Selligent is awesome to do that. We have built one setup for Kamera Express, but the Kamera Express organization consists of multiple brands. For example, at the moment we are running four or five brands under Kamera Express, and three of those are running inside Selligent in the same organization. So we made some adaptions to our template to make it multi label and also multi- language. Because for example, in French we have Photospecialist, Kamera Express, and Photo Galerie. They're all French, but they're three different labels.

Tim Glomb: Wow. So managing-

Sharif Hussainali: But they're all integrated in one big list in Selligent.

Tim Glomb: Yeah. That's great. So Selligent really gives your team the ability, not only, as you mentioned, templates, keep things on brand with the correct brand.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. It's scalable.

Tim Glomb: It's totally scalable.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. That's why I like it personally.

Tim Glomb: Yeah.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. I've built most of the setup myself, and it was awesome to see that by myself I could build all of this for 13 countries all by myself.

Tim Glomb: Wow. Well, let's talk about that. What do you love about the UI in the platform? Like the actual product itself? What are the things that stand out to you from a usability perspective that make your job easier every day?

Sharif Hussainali: I really like Selligent Marketing Cloud because it gives me freedom. For example, other software packages don't allow as much. For example, Selligent gives me the ability to use SQL, build my own scripts, make Selligent do what I want it to do. For example, other programs would like to build journeys, connect the dots, but Selligent gives me some kind of freedom to build what I like.

Tim Glomb: That's awesome.

Sharif Hussainali: And that's the solution we're looking for.

Tim Glomb: That's awesome. And then also from a metrics perspective, I mean you can see all of your engagement rates, you can see everything that you need to inside the platform?

Sharif Hussainali: Yes. We use Selligent SDS Pro to create the metrics we need. We have a lot of touch points in our communications, so it's hard to track them all by hand. We use SES Pro to build multiple interactive dashboarding, and they provide us all the insights we need.

Tim Glomb: Okay. Well, you're obviously a sophisticated firm here. You've got multiple brands, multiple countries, multiple languages. But let me ask you, do you see any trends or is there anything you'd like to see happen in the email marketing and engagement space through that channel? Any thoughts for the future?

Sharif Hussainali: I think it will continue to go down the way we see happening right now. Three years ago, we were mailing ourselves full newsletters, 50 products, mass marketing. But where it's going is one-on- one marketing.

Tim Glomb: Oh yeah.

Sharif Hussainali: Everyone would like to inaudible an email. I think that is where we are going to.

Tim Glomb: So it's truly personalization at scale.

Sharif Hussainali: Currently, we're at the moment where we have different types of segments. So we have one communication per segment, but I think in two or three years, every profile will get its own unique message. So it will be indeed 1 million unique messages for every profile we have.

Tim Glomb: That would be amazing. Smart content. Dynamic content based on your profile. And that really that's around the first stage of relationship marketing, which is acquiring, not just acquiring a contact but understanding them as an individual. Zero party data, is this something that you follow? As far as explicitly declared information from a consumer to a brand, is this what you're thinking is the power and the juice behind personalization?

Sharif Hussainali: Yes, exactly. Currently, we're focusing on our preference center. Of course, every brand has a preference center behind its email program. But with the focus shifting towards zero and first party data, we are making changes as well. All of our email tagging and scripts are almost always done service side. So that's one part. But together our data, we are updating our preference center to create an ecosystem. For example, we have our Budgetcam department, we have our printing department, and we ask preferences on all those touchpoint and we gather them in the one data point as well.

Tim Glomb: That's great. And that's a really smart use of data because if you're interacting with the rental department, being able to use that intent and the intelligence of what that person is looking for or doing in the rental department to then inform sales or inform your printing department. That's great. So what did we not cover here? Is there anything that we missed here in your strategy?

Sharif Hussainali: We covered strategy a lot of topics already.

Tim Glomb: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you're obviously sophisticated and running a great program here. Any closing thoughts for the audience who might be listening who says, " I don't know if this is worth it. I don't know if it's worth the investment to get a platform and worry about that much data to really personalize or segment"? What would you tell them? What would be your advice?

Sharif Hussainali: All I can say is start small. I started two, three years ago implementing Selligent mostly by myself. I have one colleague who was responsible for day to day operations but all of this important and high tech stuff I have built pretty much by myself. Start small, scale up when you're ready. And I think everyone can reach that scale of personalization.

Tim Glomb: There you go. I mean, just be inspired. You don't need an army, you don't need a massive team. You just need the willpower. You need a little bit of strategy. And look, lean on Selligent. We know how to do this.

Sharif Hussainali: Yes.

Tim Glomb: So get our platform in place and talk to people like Sharif. Peer to peer, figure out how to get it done. This has been great. I appreciate your time. Thanks for having us here.

Sharif Hussainali: Thank you for your time.

Tim Glomb: Beautiful city. I hope you enjoyed the segment. You can always look up Sharif on LinkedIn and check out Kamera Express. Go check out their website and see what they're up to. Maybe you need a new point and shoot.


Kamera Express helps customers capture the best moments of their lives. The specialist retailer not only sells photography and video equipment, but has a passion for educating their customers on their products.

They turned to Selligent’s marketing automation solution to increase engagement on their email campaigns and to drive customers in-store. By identifying topics their audience cared about and segmenting them into different journeys, they were able to capture a click-through rate that was an astounding 6x hiring than their normal CTR.

Even better, Selligent’s automation allowed a small team to scale their campaigns in exceptional ways.

  1. They saw a click-through rate 6x higher than their normal 6% rate 
  2. When focusing on retargeting campaigns for their mirrorless cameras, their click rates were 12% higher
  3. They’ve amassed over 400k users in their database