interactive email

Interactive Email: The Trend That Will Jolt Your Inbox in 2017

2017 is the year of Interactive email

‘If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain’ so wrote Francis Bacon in his essays on the story of Muhammed. In 2017, this principle appears destined to come true in your email inbox with interactive email. This is what happens when apps, websites and ecommerce platforms notice a drop in customer retention. They go to the one place the average customer has spent time almost everyday for the past decade and continues to do so: the email inbox.

[bctt tweet=”When apps notice a major drop in customer retention, they will move their experience to the one place the customer has spent & still spends time almost everyday: the email inbox..”]

Emails aren’t dead, but apps may be dying

2016 was the year of conversational commerce. We saw the rise of messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WeChat and more. Yet, over the past two years, most apps have seen a decline in user retention. Localytics reports that close to 75% of all app users churn within the first 90 days of using an app. Most apps occupy space on the phone and require customers to enter and exit to get their business done. The experience is broken rather than streamlined, as it means extra time and space to open, close, use, and update the app on a customer’s device.

App churn and retention rates

So what’s next? The prediction, according to David Bailey is that 2017 will be the year of interactive emails

The Elements of an Interactive Email

Interactive emails have to be engaging, innovative and win the customer over by offering them something unmatched by apps and messenger apps. Saving a customer time and offering them great navigation and user experience is of the essence here. While the ‘email is dead’ line has been echoing around the interwebz for a few years now, the proof still hasn’t been found anywhere near the pudding. 73% of marketers still agree that email marketing is core to their business and 60% of marketers claim that email is a critical enabler of products and services, versus 42% of marketers in 2014.

[bctt tweet=”73% of marketers still agree that email marketing is core to their business.”]

Here are a few examples of what changes Interactive emails can bring to the table.

 Live Shopping Cart 

A live shopping cart within an email is an essential way to remind customers of objects in their cart, about a regular order they make from time to time or to simply edit an already existing order. An interactive email with a live shopping cart removes the need for a customer to navigate away from their inbox and increases engagement in the email. Websites can also use this space to offer personalized, dynamic product recommendations offered by companies like Boomtrain.  

interactive email boomtrain

Image: JackThreads

Scratch and Flip

The traditional scratch and win or scratch to discover gift and code format is always exciting. An interactive email can transfer this excitement to a few mouse roll-overs and clicks. Granted, this isn’t always useful unless you have a promotional offer and it is a bit gimmicky, but hey – you’ll be creating a fun experience for a user that stands out from everything else in their inbox – for now at least!


interactive email example

Image: Email Monks


The DIY (Do It Yourself)

Show the customer what an awesome product they can create by making it possible for them to virtually put together anything from an ice cold frappe like in Pret Organic Coffee’s campaign, a puzzle to create a piece of furniture for an online furniture portal or a salad maker that lets you order online in the email. Customers will never want to navigate away from your email.


Click on the Image or Here to see the Interactive Campaign (Chrome and Safari only)

GIFs and Video

GIFs and Video have been around in emails for a while, but 2017 will see them taken to the next level, giving the customer more control over the content in the emails and how they want to view it. GIFs and videos are a great way to bring animation and humour into the equation – especially when you want to reach and connect with a younger, more focused audience like millennials, who now favour GIFs and videos for flirtation over traditional text.

gif-and-video-emailImage: Email on Acid / Pinterest

Microsites in Emails

As websites and products expanded their reach on the web, microsites became increasingly popular as a focused way to direct leads into sales. Microsites are easy to navigate and informative. Bringing microsites into emails takes their effect to a whole other level. With the right segmentation, they can be increasingly focused and deliver all the information to a customer without requiring them to move out of the inbox. Heat maps and click trackers can be deployed here to see what content generates the most engagement.


Image B&Q

Have you seen an interactive email campaign recently that you thought was really awesome, or did you build one for your brand? Send it to me at [email protected] and I’ll add it to this post.

email marketing CTAs


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