Advertisement Boosts Click-To-Open Rates 53% Via Personalized ‘Mystery Sales’, a Kroger-owned online retailer offering healthy consumer products such as vitamins, nutritional supplements, beauty supplies and organic grocery products, sought to improve consumer engagement within email by strengthening its exclusive, interactive “Mystery Sale” offerings. In building out personalized email campaigns with Selligent, achieved its goal of generating immediate ROI, while ensuring a consistent and relevant customer experience, delivering:

  • A 53% increase in click-to-open rates;
  • 33% lower unsubscribe rates compared to prior Mystery Sale campaigns; and
  • A 31% increase in revenue per email (RPE).

“Personalization is a very broad term,” said Jennifer Palerino, Head of Marketing, Digital at in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “There’s ways of doing it that might not be at that 1:1 level, but you’re definitely increasing conversion. The direction that we’re heading in is all about the data and understanding what fields you have and being able to know that the customer looked at or bought a certain product previously. We’re getting down to the category and even product level, say you’re a food buyer versus a beauty buyer. We can send one email, but depending on the person, they would get different content, whether it’s a different image or a different offer. Everything is dynamic.”

Mystery Sale Delivers ‘Kinetic’ Visual Experiences Within Emails

The Mystery Sale offerings initially directed customers to special landing pages to claim coupon codes they could use to shop on, but this extra step came at the risk of losing customer attention. Vitacost wanted customers to view their deal in the simplest way possible without needing to navigate to separate landing pages after reading about the offer.


Using the Selligent Marketing Cloud, added interactive design elements within the Mystery Sale experience, enabling the brand to:

  • Reduce friction by leveraging “kinetic” email, which is designed to give customers a visual and intuitive experience similar to a web site when opening them. Rather than clicking links that navigated to separate landing pages, the email team redesigned mystery deal emails with an added dynamic toggle function. Now, all customers have to do is click the “mystery box” to reveal the deal code within the email itself;
  • Use audience data to automatically segment shoppers according to their loyalty status. In this case, Vitacost sorted repeat customers into six loyalty levels: premium, valuable, potential, uncommitted, lapsing and new. Each group now receives special mystery deals based on their status, allowing Vitacost to reward customers for passing important milestones with the brand;
  • Personalize messages with unique offers, promo codes, and individualized subject lines in emails depending on behaviors or attributes; and
  • Refine and test versions of messages for different target groups — all in a single interface.

The refining and testing process remains an ongoing process for the Vitacost team, especially as it further understands its shopper segments.

“You might have an instinct, but you have to prove your results,” Palerino said. “I ran a test where we took our entire file, and split it up 80%, 10% and 10%. Going into the test, I was trying to get the executive team to understand that mailing less but being more personalized was more beneficial in the end than over time. I ran the tests for nearly a year, and I knew what the result was going to be. We learned that sending slightly fewer emails with added personalization generated the same amount of revenue as the shoppers that received more emails, but we had nearly 50% less unsubscribes.

Palerino noted that will continue to leverage more Selligent features, including the company’s Cortex AI platform, to deliver real-time offers throughout the web site browsing experience.

“There are still some things we haven’t been able to do in the past,” Palerino said. “We’re always looking to see what else is out there. How can a company help with our shipping, or our SMS?”

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