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Retailers: How to Build an Engaged Marketing Database Post-GDPR Changes

Let’s face it, the new GDPR regulation has come into place because almost everyone with an email address is receiving spam that they certainly did not ask for. For that reason, we should welcome the new General Data Protection Regulation.

Even if you’re a retailer that for years and years has only been sending your lists (painstakingly built up through sales, in-store promotions, loyalty cards, opt-ins, competitions, and so on) interesting content (sales, discount codes, new range launch information…), chances are you’ll lose a huge chunk of your lists in order to be 100% certain that you are compliant with the new regulations.


Not a Setback, An Opportunity

After a lot of hard work it can be a bitter pill to swallow to rebuild your lists, but actually your marketing will be much more successful in the long-term.

Think about it – if you have people that signed up to your email lists years ago or that haven’t engaged with you for some time – are they still relevant to you, when you are no longer relevant to them? They may have relocated, their kids may have grown up or their circumstances may have completely changed.You should see this as an excellent opportunity to grow an ultra-engaged marketing database.

With all businesses forced to clean up their act, your marketing communications should be less likely to be lost in the noise of spam.

We’ve compiled some top tips to engage with your databases post-GDPR changes.


Optimise confirmation emails

When completing a transaction, a customer will be emailed an order confirmation and/or similar emails about their purchase.

This communication is based on ‘legitimate interest’, where you are sending important information about the purchase to the customer – but there is more that can be done to make these emails add that bit more value.

Think about other useful information that could go in the mailer to keep them engaged.


Example 1: Loyalty / VIP Invitations

Ask the customer to become a member of the loyalty programme by communicating the number of points they could have earned from their transaction if they were, and how they can opt-in to the programme.

Example 2: Upsell

There may be other products that you could upsell within the email, based on the customers previous purchase. For example ‘add product X to your purchase for just £1.99’, or ‘complete the look with ‘product Y’.

Example 3: Content

You can also use content to re-engage with the customer. For example, ‘Can’t wait for product X to arrive? Check out this video of product X in action’ – or, direct the customer to some useful instructions in anticipation of the product’s arrival.

Whether through free, added-value content or repeat purchases, re-engagement with your brand and store post-purchase is important to making the customer feel engaged and to begin building that all-important (and very valuable) loyal relationship.


With unsolicited spam (hopefully) a thing of the past, customers will begin to become far more tuned in to whether or not the brands they trust to hold their email address really know them.

Before the GDPR changes, a customer may not have noticed an email that was not addressed to them by name because impersonal emails were the norm. Post-GDPR, personalisation will become a clue to consumers that your communications are intended for and relevant for that

individual recipient.


If you’re holding data on a customer that you’re not putting to positive use then you should not be holding it.  

According to Campaign Monitor, 74% of marketers agree that personalising emails gets results, to the tune of an average 20% boost to sales – so make use of what you know about preferences and buying behaviour to segment your databases and create emails that are personalised to each.


Do you need help with your retail marketing? At Alphagraphics we specialise in creating bespoke marketing materials and strategies for retail businesses. Give us a call on 0191 5800915 or email us at


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