Here’s How Nykaa Achieved a 43.5% uplift in clicks with Personalization
Written by
Surya Panicker

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Here’s How Nykaa Achieved a 43.5% uplift in clicks with Personalization

Published : March 10, 2021 | Updated : May 22, 2024

Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder but the beauty industry has been one of the most attractive industries for consumers. Who doesn’t want to look beautiful? Skincare and makeup products are at the top of anyone’s shopping list. Wait…Is it anyone or there’s a particular sector of the society who is invested in this industry? Well, a study conducted by our marketing team  revealed that consumers who are female, unmarried, aged 30–35 years old, have a university degree, and work in the service industry are prone to impulsive buying of cosmetics.In India the average age group tends to drift towards 25-30 years old.

So is it only women who are contributing to the beauty industry? While any mathematical model would sway towards a woman, let’s not ignore the absolute numbers! When it comes to men, the rate of change has been enormous  in terms of the degree of investment in grooming products.The trends have changed very rapidly for men.Retrosexual has made way for metrosexual! An article published by Hindustan Times indicates, India’s men grooming market was $1.28 billion in 2016, and is estimated to have crossed $2.6 billion in 2018.The market is projected to soar to $5.5 billion by 2021!

Let’s look at the impact email marketing creates in the beauty industry.

Some of the numbers that were achieved by Nykaa in the sale period :

  1. 96% gmail Inboxing
  2. Delivered 75% moreemails at the time of sale with the domain reputation sustained at high
  3. We have been able to increase the unique openers count by 48.3%
  4. We have been able to increase the unique clickers count by 43.5%

If you are a marketer in the beauty industry reading this, please don’t wait! Hurry up and implement these 5 tips and you will see your revenue from email marketing skyrocket!!

Since the beauty industry in India is still predominantly dependent on women, the email campaigns sent to women tend to have a high CTOR, as women tend to open less and click more.

The Impact of the lockdown in India on the online beauty industry

According to Similar Web one of the top cosmetic and beauty product brands in India had a dip of 60% plus in website traffic. This resulted when all non-essential services were stopped owing to the spread of the deadly sars-cov2 virus. There was a nationwide lockdown declared in India effective from 25th March 2020 and since then the e-commerce industry has been operating under a cloud of uncertainty. 

However when it comes to email marketing, one of the key aspects is nurturing the end users to expect emails from the brand. Just because you can’t deliver your products  temporarily doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t engage with your end users. On the other hand, there’s the technical aspect of keeping the domain and IP warmed up-Gmail refreshes the reputation every 30 days. 

So if you were sending 1M emails/day at some point and you haven’t sent any email in the last 30 days, you may have to start with controlled volumes when you start sending again! This is termed as a heartbeat campaign. When you need to stop your emails for some time, it’s best to keep them alive by sending low volume emails consistently. This preserves your email sending reputation and gives you the opportunity to get back to normal volumes when you need to resume your campaigns.

While the intent of the emails would be to keep the users engaged and also keep the domain and IP warmed up, it may seem like a waste of money for many marketeers.

“What’s the purpose of a campaign if I am not getting any ROI?”

Such questions may definitely pop up. But every marketer should have a futuristic approach and ask questions like the one below :

“When my business starts again, will my domain and IP be still warmed up to reach out to all my customers informing them that I am open again?”

This is essential and if the marketeer isn’t able to reach out to all his customers, he will face a tremendous loss!

As a result many brands along with the beauty industry started engaging with the end users to keep the domain warmed up and also nurture the user’s  habit to expect emails from the brand.



Hence with these types of campaigns, the brands were able to run retention and also solve the problem of the domain and IP reputation turning neutral.

Also the beauty industry has had a history of surviving in hard times.During the 2008 financial crisis, expenditure on the industry fell slightly and fully bounced back by 2010.

Here is an analysis by Mckinsey of the year on year progress of the beauty industry :

Even though the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on brands and their retail stores will be more severe than any other recession, there are signs that the beauty industry may once again prove relatively resilient. In China, the industry’s February sales fell up to 80 percent compared with 2019. In March, the year-on-year decline was 20 percent—a rapid comeback under the circumstances.Similarly in India, while the sale of  makeup products saw a significant dip, however this was almost compensated by the surge in the sale of skin-care & hair products.

However in such times, when there’s hardly any room for error, every expenditure has to be planned right.This includes the expenditure on marketing campaigns and since email marketing is the best channel when it comes to ROI and also reachability, the marketer must get the email marketing program right by hook or by crook!

 5 impactful strategies to get the most ROI out of your beauty products :

1) Mails sent based on the last purchased product life cycle

Beauty products and cosmetic products tend to be consumed in a certain span of time.  Engaging with a customer just when the lipstick is going to run out, really adds value to the email program!

In the bigger picture, product life cycle marketing is about managing a product’s growth from the time it’s introduced in the market.This is a different context.

The product life cycle campaigns I am talking about are similar to renewal reminders. The intent is simply, “Hey you bought this MAC lipstick x months ago, would you like to buy again?”. A study revealed that renewal reminder campaigns, when sent effectively, save 30% of a brand’s customers!

So we will focus on a few points that can make your renewal/re-purchase email campaign stronger :

  1. Segmentation : Firstly identify your loyal customers, borderline churned customers and churned customers.You wouldn’t want to send the emails to the churned customers.
  2. Start Early : The journey of reminders should be started at least 1 month before the predicted date when the product is going to expire.
  3. Rely on the feedback : If you have been capturing feedback, you are 1 step ahead! You would want to rule out sending such reminders to users who have given  negative feedback.Engage with users who have given  positive feedback and if you see conversions, start engaging with users who haven’t shared  feedback.
  4. Create FOMO : If the customer doesn’t repurchase after a threshold number of nudges, start offering some discounts.Sometimes price is the only barrier between a repurchase and a churn.

2) Marrying platform activity with email activity.

This is a strategy that works for all e-commerce portals.

The email activity intelligence can come from Netcore : We can easily conduct an RFM analysis based on recency and frequency of opens.For the rest of the users we can have our data intelligence algorithms predict the email activity of the users.

Considering the brand sends emails everyday, the most active user in a mathematical model(considering the maxima, excluding industry trends etc.) would be the one who has opened 30/30 emails in the last 1 month & 60/60 emails in the last 2 months. So let’s look at a range of 60 days and try to make the following buckets : 

Segment a:   Users with unique opens=60 in the last 60 days

Segment b:   Users with unique opens>50 in the last 60 days

Segment c:   Users with unique opens>40 in the last 60 days

Segment d :  Users with unique opens>30 in the last 60 days

Segment e :  Users with unique opens>20 in the last 60 days

Segment f:    Users with unique opens>10 in the last 60 days

Segment g:   Users with unique opens>5 in the last 60 days

Segment h:   Users with unique opens>=1 in the last 60 days

Segmeng i :   Users with no unique opens in the last 60 days

Platform Activity

There can be two use-cases in terms of average number of transactions by a user. 

Case 1 :

A user can perform a higher number of transactions than your overall average over the last 60 days.

Case 2 :

A user can perform below average number of transactions compared to the 60 day average. 

Example: Average no. of transactions by any user on the platform in 60 days is 5

Maximum no. of transactions by any user on the platform in 60 days in 10

You can have 2 types of segments :

Segment a1 : Users with No. of transactions between 5 & 10 in the last 60 days

Segment b2 : Users  with No. of transactions between 0& 5  in the last 60 days

Combination of the 2 activities

Most Loyal customers on email as a channel :

 a1+a,a1+b,a1+c,a1+d, a1+e

i.e. You will consider a user most loyal if he has transacted between 5 & 10 times in the last 60  days and opened atleast 20 plus emails in the last 60 days.

Similarly you can combine the 2 types of activities and go on forming buckets based on loyalty.

It’s essential to note that the offers sent to the most loyal users should be alluring and interesting enough for the not so loyal customers to want to convert to the loyal bracket.

Hence the offers should vary according to the user activity both on email and platform.

3)  Improve Inboxing Rate

It’s difficult to know why Google drops an email in the Primary or under any other tab. Their algorithms are highly sophisticated and understand the email content really well nowadays. 

Though you cannot guarantee primary inboxing, there are many ways to improve your overall inboxing rates. 

Then comes other content level changes which gives the emails the essence of a transactional email and helps in primary tab placement.

While there can be no rulebook for primary inboxing, these are a few elements of your campaign that you can change to improve your user reach:

  1. Fiddling with the sender ID : using sender IDs like norepl@domain, updates@domain, info@domain helps the campaigns sound like a triggered campaign
  2. Subject Lines : Keywords in the subject lines  like ‘alert’, ‘Guide to’ make the subjects sound like triggered/informative in nature. Also the intent of the subjects matter : generally if the subject is a question, it sounds like an informative content.
  3. Different combinations of subject line, footer, pre-header need to be tried out while testing.
  4. Hidden texts/paragraphs in the content may help your campaign sound like informative content.
  5. In some cases, reduced no. of scrolls and images and more text content helps the email campaign seem like a triggered email campaign and thus helps in primary inboxing.

4)  Send Time Optimization

Send Time Optimization is known to increase the open rates by 8-10% in the beauty and cosmetics industry. In India, this industry as of now caters to customers who are majorly women and generally women tend to have a very organized pattern of checking emails, unlike men whose trends are kind of chaotic. Hence when you are sending email campaigns selling beauty products to your customers in India, you better identify the open trends and target the right users at the right time!

While STO is at the very nascent phase with most providers, at Netcore, we are constantly evolving from the vanilla STO AI models to a futuristic model which will be considering factors like the following :

  1. Considering delivered time as an independent variable besides open time, most STO models only consider open time and predict the send-out time.
  2. The STO model is ‘Timezone Optimized’ as we have a substantial number of marketers who operate from different time zones.
  3. Currently most of the STO models focus on open time as an independent variable.The ultimate action which gets the user closest to a conversion is a click. So why not start focussing on click time as an independent variable as well?

5) The new trends in 2020

A marketer must stay updated with the latest trends in the industry, like a programmer must be updated with the latest versions of the trending languages.According to a study by Litmus, following were the top design trends in 2019 :

Some of the new trends in email marketing in 2020 are as follows :

  1. AMP Emails

Source: Netcore

AMP is the next game changer in email marketing.This should come at the top of the design trends in 2020. In theory, AMP emails combine personalized, animated, dynamic, and interactive emails into one. Broadly there are two types of use cases :

a) Browser Carousel in the email

b) Collecting data within the email itself eg. feedback forms

Animated emails as a standalone feature render a 200% jump in CTR.Hence the jump in revenue from AMP content would be enormous. 

  1. Hyper-personalisation

Hyper personalisation simply enhances the user experience. The emails campaigns should always sound like the marketer knows the customer well. According to QuickSprout, personalized CTA buttons increased the click rate by 28%. Since in the beauty industry we are mostly catering to female customers, hyper-personalisation can do wonders to the email campaigns. We all know women like any effort to make them feel special!

The other factor that helps customers when you implement hyper-personalisation is that it reduces any choice overload. As per 99firms, there are 24 million e-commerce stores in the world! Hence choice overload is inevitable. However if you can smoothen the customer experience by showing them what they want, the chances of a purchase increases by 20-30%

Netcore has acquired which is a Bangalore based AI start-up. This gives the product-smartech-to send personalised recommendation emails to all the customers.This is very relevant in the beauty industry because choice overload is a major problem when it comes to cosmetics and skin-care products.

“ harnesses the power of customers’ Eyeball, Intent, Behavioural, Demographic, Device data among others to provide the most Relevant and Personalised Experience for every User across all Touch-points of the App and Website, with a 15-minute Integration process.”

Besides the above 2 important techniques, some of the other trends to look forward to in 2020 are :

  1. Emails in Dark Mode – Depending on your audience, upto 78% of your opens are on a mobile phone. For your users who read through emails during the night, you can ensure your emails are capable of switching to dark mode with another color palette preset. This will let you show the right colors without them being automatically inverted by the default dark-mode feature in most mobiles.
  2. Social Media Integration– Send emails that trigger an action on your social profile such as hashtag competitions, photo sharing, review rewards, or supporting a cause.
  3.  Animations, GIFs & Videos : The word video in the subject is known to increase the Open rate by 20%

Well, it has been a long read.The learning is that a marketer in the beauty industry must implement the 5 tips discussed above. However we are used to stories from childhood. Any moral lesson learnt from a story has always been more impactful than someone just telling us what is good and what is bad! Hence for those of you reading this, I have a story as well which should definitely help you remember the importance of these tips!

The Nykaa Story

Nykaa is South Asia’s only beauty Unicorn.They run their email campaigns through Netcore. While they have been inboxing well, they had to send 3X the volume they usually send at the time of their Sale in the month of July. Netcore’s C.R.E.D. consulting helped Nykaa not only achieve the 3X jump in send-out count but also achieve some promising numbers.

What is C.R.E.D consulting?

 C.R.E.D stands for Creative, Reputation, ,Engagement & Data Segmentation

Creative : Our recommendations help brands create killer subject lines which help the emails land in primary

Reputation :  Our experience and thought leadership in deliverability and direct interaction with ISPs like Gmail helps us provide the best practice guidelines and also the automated alerts help us monitor the reputation of the infrastructure.

Engagement : We work closely with the brands’ marketing team and help them attain the maximum Open rates.

Data Segmentation : We work with the brands closely and help them marry platform activity with email activity and help them create insightful segments.

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Written By: Surya Panicker