Jenny Chan 陳詠欣
Feb 2, 2015

How an online liquor store in China boosted email-marketing revenue

CASE STUDY: Email marketing in China is difficult due to a lack of transparency in the filtering and blocking policies of China's largest ISPs. Here's how one brand worked with its email provider to keep up with the changes and secure a 20 percent increase in revenue.

How an online liquor store in China boosted email-marketing revenue


Like many other Chinese e-commerce websites, online liquor store (酒仙网) has been facing serious problems with the strict but opaque requirements of China's largest ISPs (QQ and Netease).

Due to the lack of transparency in ISP policy, it is difficult to get detailed numbers regarding rejection reports and email conversions. The only data ISPs share are open and click rates, which make it almost impossible to detect problems with the brand's email marketing campaigns other than being caught up with email delivery.

China's ISPs (especially QQ Mail) closely monitor and block email domains that send a lot of emails to users, but the store needed to be able to send out a sufficient number of marketing messages to achieve performance indicators.

The liquor retailer has strong online visibility on China's leading e-commerce sites like Tmall, JD, Yihaodian and Dangdang under a B2C model, but aimed for more strategic online-to-offline deployment using mobile email and its mobile platform (酒快到). Its founder and chairman, Hongfeng Hao, has been cautious about spending on advertisements.

Strategy partnered with Emarsys to keep up with the constantly updated ISP rules and requirements and ensure compliance.

Emarsys guided to get onto the whitelists of the two ISPs and implement a new email transmission policy internally (based on daily limits and a timetable) so as to establish confidence with the ISPs.

In addition, based on recipient behaviour and website user activity, Jiuxian started to refine its campaigns from being 'spam-like' to more personalised content, to gain greater returns.

Unlike the usual methods used by other Chinese brands—masquerading multiple IP addresses and domain names as 'whitelist' (which the ISPs see as fraudulent)—the store tried for continuous communication with the ISPs to understand their policies, win their trust, and improve the store's sender reputation.


Jiuxian's sender-creditability rating increased by 900 per cent, and email open rates increased to 22 per cent. Before March 2014, open rates were only 7 per cent on average.

Actual revenue from email-marketing campaigns achieved a month-on-month increase of 20 per cent as of end October 2014.


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