I reviewed the mobile UX of the Wish ecommerce app last week.

It's a platform for bargain hunters and uses lots of tactics to create a sense of urgency.

In the week since signing up, I have received seven automated emails (as well as a number of app notifications).

Let's have a look at Wish's approach.

Day three: basket abandonment

Below is the second email I received (the first on day one was a welcome email and chiefly for email address verification). It points me towards an item I left in my basket.

One slight problem with Wish's time sensitive offers is the fact that here is a product I had viewed at £8 when I used the app a few days ago. Now Wish is pushing it back to me at £9.

Granted, both prices are fairly reasonable, but it does show a potential downside to the discount model.

Elsewhere in the email, it's interesting that Wish has attached a YouTube haul video. The video shows a makeup haul, which isn't best suited for me.

Wish knows my gender, it asked me during the signup process, but has likely added this video to all such emails, regardless of gender.

The retailer may well be promoting its YouTube content here to re-emphasise its value proposition. The haul videos stress that the products are cheap but their quality is adequately good.

For a new(ish) platform with a slightly unusual UX, social proof is important to tempt first-time users back into the app.

wish email

Day four: browsing follow-up

I had browsed a range of trainers on the Wish app, so was slightly surprised this follow-up email focused on sandals. Indeed, the showcased products seem to be mostly shoes.

Despite this slight confusion in categories, I liked the format of the email, with simple product images that are all individually linked to product pages, or the option to see the full collection.

Notice the email subject tackles the topic of 'creepiness' head on, telling me what I've been browsing. This is smart - recognising the elephant in the room means Wish mitigates any customer unease.

wish email

Day four: trending products & recommendations

On day four Wish also sent me the email below, which I've split into two images.

It's a classic bit of email marketing. Some gender-specific products are surfaced (the wallets category), as are recommendations similar to my wishlist (where I had liked a watch strap) and links to other categories are provided.

The footer promotes the Wish app, which by day four I had deleted.

As far as I'm aware, there's no way to find out if a user has deleted an iOS app, but I can't rule out Wish having some kind of work-around here.

email from wish  wish email

Day six: more trending products and recommendations (effectively a non-open resend)

Another recommendation email next.

Though I didn't engage with the first email, studies have shown email resends to non-opens to be a successful tactic, so Wish obviously sees the same with its testing.

This isn't a resend per se, but the email layout and half of the content matches very closely to day four's email.

wish email  wish email

Day six: wishlist reminder

I had added a watch strap to my favourites and six days later Wish sent me the email below.

The delay was smart, being time enough for me to have potentially bought the watch strap. Sending a reminder too soon may have put me off.

The email subject line is impressive, personalised to the product I had favourited.

If these subject lines are automated, there must have been extensive copywriting or a machine learning algorithm involved in the original setup.

wish wishlist reminder

Conclusion

Though I have called Wish's automated email 'aggressive' I don't think that's a bad thing. The retailer's whole strategy is about encouraging time in app as well as impulse buys.

As we know from some studies, more email means more money

It's an effective channel that, though it may serve to annoy the one-off customer, does much to encourage high-value customers to purchase.

From a marketing automation point of view, it's great to see a retailer investing heavily in this area given that many marketers are failing to make the most of triggered emails.

Ben Davis

Published 1 June, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

Very interesting. We can do this too, though we don't yet have any clients who take such a "direct" approach. It is basically daily automated emails, done rather well. My sympathies to the Wish team for the minor glitches, which are probably already dealt with - this leading-edge stuff is hard. Couple of points...

Re: Wish knows my gender, it asked me during the signup process, but has likely added this video to all such emails, regardless of gender.

Indeed and rightly so. Some marketers may assume that your gender is the one you're buying for, but that's not right - a lot of people buy for others. Until Wish has enough data to be sure of your buying preferences, it's right to assume you may be interested in products for all ages and genders.

Re: "If these subject lines are automated".

They're automated - nice! Looks like a few hours' copyrighting, with one text comment per category ("Your watch will be so sleek with a new band" for the category "watch straps"), no machine learning needed. Great the first time and the workload rises horribly if you want to support a lot of languages.

over 1 year ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Editor at EconsultancyStaff

Pete, great comments as always.

Yes, I had considered the gender aspect - man buys for woman, or vice versa - but on reflection I reckon Wish has a majority of female users and so naturally tends to feminine (or family) content.

over 1 year ago

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