Toy specialist The Entertainer is to extend its digital advertising efforts in anticipation of a bumper Christmas online.

The retailer, which operates through websites and, is introducing an email marketing software platform from SmartFOCUS to allow it to tailor and personalise the messages it sends.

The Entertainer has also just started doing pay-per-click online advertising, and is working with an agency for search engine optimisation for the first time.

The initiatives follow the retailer’s expansion of its online sales capacity with the opening of a dedicated online fulfilment centre last year.

The retailer’s online marketing manager Zoe Greenall said she has started to use the email marketing system in the past month and is pleased with the improved delivery rates achieved – the old system could not deliver to Hotmail accounts, for instance.

The new system is quicker and easier to use, and Greenall said SmartFOCUS is acting as a partner, rather than just a systems supplier, when it comes to helping the retailer improve its email marketing.

Greenall plans to further use the functionality of the SmartFOCUS system to provide segmentation and targeting of the emails that are sent out on behalf of and

For example, customers who have previously bought products from the Sylvanian Families collectibles range can be targeted once new products are launched online.

From October, The Entertainer will also seek to collect more information about its customer base in order to improve the relevance of the emails it sends. Greenall said: “We can collect so much information in a short space of time by sending out emails with buttons for customers to tell us whether they buy for boys, girls or pre-school children.”

She added that other initiatives could include asking customers their child’s age and when their birthday is, again so email marketing can be more targeted.

Greenall joined The Entertainer to increase its online marketing last October, having previously worked for and property, job and car search website