Eastern Mountain Sports improves preference center and welcome emails, boosting results

Outdoor specialty retailer takes a customer-centric approach to email marketing with the collection of customer data online


The preference center we have developed with Experian CheetahMail has helped us gather this information with speed, ease and precision.

- Donna Edgar
Senior Marketing Manager
Eastern Mountain Sports, Inc.

Eastern Mountain Sports, Inc. (EMS), is one of the nation’s leading outdoor specialty retailers, selling a wide range of outdoor gear and apparel in stores and on its website. To add relevance and value to their online customer communications, EMS worked with Experian CheetahMail to carefully design an innovative online preference center. Their new preference center consisted of user-friendly form fields and check boxes that accurately captured significant information from new and existing subscribers. EMS was able to incorporate this data into subsequent mailings, resulting in higher clickthroughs and open rates and an increase in revenue attributable to the program itself.


  • Effectively incorporate preference center into email program
  • Collect a wealth of accurate customer information for new and existing customers
  • Use this data to encourage more opens, clickthroughs and revenue growth
  • Build customer loyalty by giving customers more control


To meet the needs of their increasingly savvy customer base, EMS turned to their dedicated account team at Experian CheetahMail for strategic guidance in revamping the EMS email program with a brand new preference center and an improved registration process.

EMS and Experian CheetahMail first re-branded the creative on EMS’ existing registration form to better match the look and feel of their eCommerce website. They then added additional fields for collecting the consumer’s shopping channel preferences, sport interests, gift shopping needs and most-frequented store location, enhancing the form into a powerful and enticing hub for consumer data entry.

To make the user experience as easy as possible, the preference center auto-populates the contact information fields for existing subscribers. This gives them the option to edit their details if necessary, but frees up data entry time for the majority of customers whose name, email address and zip code have remained unchanged. Further building upon Experian CheetahMail’s best practice recommendations, EMS added an image of a newsletter into the form for new subscribers to preview, providing clear expectations and allowing them to opt-in confidently.

To collect data from existing subscribers, EMS sent out an email promoting and linking to the web-based preference center. The email explicitly stated the benefits of filling out the form and provided added incentive by giving participants a chance to win a brand new EMS Jive Pack – a multi-purpose backpack with a retail value of $79.00.

New subscribers automatically receive a triggered welcome message sent in real-time from Experian CheetahMail. As shown, the re-designed email thanks the customer for signing up and presents them with a free shipping promotion, building loyalty while boosting sales and brand awareness.


By building an effective preference center strategy and keeping the customer top of mind, EMS was able to engage its subscriber base with response-driven emails. The resulting campaigns rendered higher clickthroughs and open rates than previous campaigns (see chart, below). Within the first 30 days of deployment, EMS also experienced an increase in revenue directly attributable to the preference center launch.

Welcome email

Unique open rate
Unique click rate
Preference center launch

Profile updates

Most impressively, almost ten thousand unique subscribers updated their email profiles within the first month of the preference center’s implementation, proving that EMS’ audience is especially connected to the brand and interested in their emails. As Donna Edgar, Senior Marketing Manager from Eastern Mountain Sports, explains, “Having access to all of this valuable customer information allows us to incorporate relevant elements of personalization into every message we send, engaging our audience by speaking directly to their inclinations and interests. Even better, we now know what our customers don’t like, and it’s become easier to curb opt-outs and build a trustworthy, long-lasting dialog as a result of this insight.”

Looking ahead

EMS is working with their Experian CheetahMail account team to best leverage all the new data they have acquired through the preference center. As part of this effort, various dynamic content and segmentation scenarios are being implemented and tested regularly. In addition, EMS is working in tandem with Experian CheetahMail to design new creative HTML templates for each of their shipping and order confirmation emails, which currently exist in a plain-text format.