The question of whether to set-up an automated email system is one that many online retailers struggle with. The plus side of doing so is of course the opportunity to increase sales. However, many companies worry that bombarding their customers with emails will turn them off the brand. In addition, there is also the perception that implementing an email programme is difficult, overly technical and time consuming to maintain.
In truth, most of the more popular email platforms are now relatively simple to use. Aside from some initial development input to integrate the mailer domain with your chosen software, the rest of the set-up process is directed by step-by-step guidance. Maintaining the email database is also simple, with most platforms cleansing the list with the click of a button; removing bounced emails and unsubscribes.
As for potentially irritating your existing customers, as long as you make it simple for recipients to unsubscribe from your email database, you won’t upset anyone too much. So, there really is no excuse for online retailers to not utilise emails as a channel in their marking strategy.
To get you started, below are a list of the five essential automated emails that every online retailer should implement.
Every new customer or newsletter subscriber should receive an onsite message thanking them for signing-up. However, limiting your welcome to just a bland onsite message is a missed opportunity. Through a welcome email you can establish a more personnel contact with the customer from the beginning, whilst putting across some brand identity. You also set a precedent for future communications, ensuring that the customer won’t be confused as to why they are receiving future emails.
It is always wise to make the initial email and all subsequent emails more welcoming by personalising them with the recipient’s name. You should also give the subject line of your email some careful thought. Although you are only welcoming a new customer, or thanking someone for joining up, try to make the subject line interesting and aligned with your brand’s personality.
Sending out an email to a customer on their birthday not only makes them feel special, but also provides the opportunity to re-engage them, in the event they haven’t visited your site for some time. Including a discount code in the email is a great way of ensuring that they are happy to receive the email and also increases the chances of a sale.
Sending ‘we miss you’ emails to customers that haven’t visited the site for some time has become a more popular practice in recent years. With online shoppers having such a huge range of choice, they can easily forget your brand, despite having had a positive experience in the past. Reminding them that you exist allows them to re-engage with your brand and serves to reinforce your existence in their minds. Again, a discount code will increase the likelihood of them visiting your site and making a purchase.
A recent study by Baymard Institute reveals that almost 68% of online shoppers fail to go through with purchasing the items that they have added to their basket. There are many reasons why an abandonment may occur and an above average abandonment rate may indicate that you need to take a closer look at the user journey. Alternatively, it may be that the customer couldn’t find their payment card, decided to wait until payday or was distracted by something else.
Abandonment emails provide a huge opportunity to encourage purchases and a little gentle prompting can greatly increase transaction fulfilment. Ideally the email will provide a link through to your site’s checkout, where the customer’s basket is already contains their chosen items. This removes the need for the customer to search for the items, meaning all they have to do is enter their payment details.
Upsell emails work best when aimed at your high-value customers. Whilst these emails are designed to encourage customers to spend more, you can be subtle about how you go about achieving this aim. A great way of doing this can be to provide this segment of your database with information on upcoming products or launches.
Through careful wording, you can make your high-value customers feel as though they are a member of a select group that receive exclusive privileges. This strategy can serve to not only increase sales, but can also create brand ambassadors, who endorse your products or services to others.
There are numerous additional types of automated emails that you can set-up to boost your online marketing. However, the five that we have detailed above offer a solid starting point, before you consider expanding your programme. Just remember to keep checking the results of your emails and refining them where necessary, before you begin adding to your programme.