Both Goodmail and Google are beta testing rich content enabled platforms. Google’s Enhanced Email is limited to Gmail, whereas Goodmail’s CertifiedCommerce is designed to have broader ISP implementation and will be supported by AOL first.
Gal Chanoch, VP of Product Management at Goodmail, tells me CertifiedCommerce will enable recipients to make purchases - end to end - without leaving the inbox and in many cases without sharing information they don’t need to.
The subscriber can perform recipient specific routines, for example, adding an item to their wish list or paying a bill. Below are series of screenshots (courtesy of Goodmail), showing a bill pay without leaving the inbox.
Bill Pay Screenshot 1
Bill Pay Screenshot 2
Bill Pay Screenshot 3
Bill Pay Screenshot 4
Carousel screenshot 1
Carousel screenshot 2
Google have been testing Enhanced Email for a while, this Netflix example courtesy of Dan McGee, is from Sep09.
Dan writes, “A little Netflix logo showed up right in the inbox view, and when I clicked on it there was a whole fancy pane below the email containing movie recommendations I could add directly to my queue.”
Check out a Sears example on the The Retail Email Blog. The enhanced module has seven tabs, containing 20 products. Although Sears did not test personalized product recommendations, Ramki told me it was available, as are recipient specific routines. Google is beta testing Enhanced Email, they’ve made no official announcement with regards to going commercial.
Julie Waite of Bronto asks, “My first question would be, how are clicks and page turns tracked in this special section?”
As the content is not generated at the time of send, Ramki told me you cannot use your ESP, instead you’ll need to integrate web analytics. Sears used Omniture, to track the links in the enhanced module. Gal Chanoch of Goodmail confirmed that email tracking will still do its job, but web analytics will be required to take it to the next level. He mentioned vendors like Ominture, Coremetrics and Unica as possible solutions.
Ramki told me he’d consider using Enhanced Email (Gmail) and CertifiedCommerce (AOL) simultaneously, for maximum coverage. From a production standpoint, creative targeted at different ISPs would increase costs. Chad White of the Retail Email Blog asks, “Will features like Enhanced Email ever cause marketers to advocate that their subscribers use one ISP over another? “. Are we going to see, “Best experienced in Gmail/AOL” on sign up forms.
Landing pages RIP?
Bronto, mentioned a reduction in website traffic/time on site as a possible downside. Gal told me, “I will say that Enhanced Email gives consumers more functionality that they need and want, which will lead to better engagement. Better engagement is a win/win not either or. Happy customers will buy more and will spend more time on landing pages.”
Goodmail inserts a Blue Trust Seal next to the subject line and in the security strip, so recipients know the message is secure and authentic.
Gmail have similarly been inserting favicons in the subject line, like this one from Netflix. (Image courtesy of TechCrunch).
I wonder whether existing subscribers, should be given the choice to opt-in to enhanced features? You can disable Enhanced Email within Gmail. Gal felt a better way to manage it would be via a preference center, “Also please keep in mind that in most cases (like product carousel) from end user perspective there is no difference between an image or sliding images unless they engage.”