Serve it in 60Back to school: three words that make middle school kids cry, Billy Madison sing, and retailers sweat.

For two months, starting … well … right about now, retailers have an opportunity to pull in more $70 billion in revenue from students and their parents. Not bad, right?

On one hand, this is one of few times a year where consumers will arrive on your doorstep, wallet open, ready to spend. On the other, your competition is fierce, consumer options are high, and, if your numbers look sluggish, you may need to resort to slashing prices to pump up sales.

With this recipe, you’re going to win over those back-to-school customers who browse online but find it easier to buy for their kids in-store.

To do that, we’re going to walk through how you can personalize your existing back-to-school emails with a clear call-to-action that will drive your in-store traffic.

This process typically requires a significant time commitment from the tech and creative teams: generating store-specific creative for each of your thousands of stores, flagging visitors that have viewed certain product categories, sending that information to the ESP, segmenting visitors from different zip codes, and serving the appropriate creative.

But Serve it in 60 is anything but typical. Let’s go!


  • 1 on-brand “blank” creative

Prep (15 mins):

  • Secure an on-brand blank creative. If you can size it for both email and web use, that’s great; if not, use two separate creatives. These can be generated by your creative team, or simply re-used from prior promos. Get as fancy as you like, but we’re going to use the below for this example:

Blank Template for Monetate ContentBuilder

Execution (45 mins):

  • Upload the blank creative into the Monetate ContentBuilder. You’ll be adding dynamic text from here.
  • Add a map layer, which will dynamically serve a map of the visitor’s nearest store location when they view the creative in email or on the website:

Blank in CB

Blank in CB with map

  • Now add your store name and information. You can even customize by store type, like traditional vs. outlet, if you’d like.

Blank in CB with map and text drop

  • Personalize the nearest store message for visitors who have viewed key back-to-school categories. Example: For visitors who have recently browsed backpacks, target them with a message that their newest backpack is right down the road:

Final Edited

You should begin replacing your generic back-to-school emails with these personalized versions, specifically for people who have browsed top back-to-school categories in the last 30 days, opening the email within a certain radius of a store.

Likewise, do the same on the web. Replace strategic onsite assets with the relevant store/category messages for people who have viewed, but not purchased, and who have visited your site from within a brick and mortar market.

Technology enabling scale for the win!