The land of e-commerce is vast and most customers utilize retailer’s websites primarily, even if they shop in-store. And, most retailers use targeted email campaigns, eblasts for events and schedule automated emails to communicate with these customers — but how well do these emails actually engage the potential buyer? Kath Pay of Holistic Email Marketing suggests that customers and retailers actually have the same goals — retailers want customers to buy their product and those customers want to purchase it, it just has to be easy and fun for them to shop.
Before you can launch or even build an email campaign, you have to do some digging — data mining. First, you’ll want to find out who your customer is, where are they coming from, how are they using your website and what their online behaviors are. If you don’t have a data expert in-house, hire someone with the expertise because understanding this data will make or break the effectiveness of your email strategies (remember, your retail POS often has great information). What you will find is that there are a few types of online shoppers, all of which have different way to engage them through email:
- The Browser — This customer visits your site, spends some quality time there, but does not buy.
- The Top Spender — This is your bread and butter – they create most of your revenue.
- The Discount Shopper — This is the person who is motivated by the deal, special or coupon, to spend.
- The Full-Price Shopper — The first time they buy with you, it is a full price item.
- The Holiday Shopper — The only time they shop with your brand is during holidays.
These main segments of consumers make up the majority of online shoppers and are the reason to have email campaigns at all. Coming up with a strategy for those emails relies on understanding the customer.
The Browser — Who They Are and How to Get Them to Buy?
Customers who browse but never shop are a great opportunity for retailers because the customer is interested enough to have subscribed to receive emails — so the important step here is to figure out why they are abandoning and when. While focusing on the data, there are some key behaviors to watch for such as what they are clicking on, where do they visit most frequently and do they have any characteristics in common with other “browsers”? Once these insights are uncovered, a plan to address them with emails can be developed, three ways to do this are
- Develop Content — Engage them with content other than shopping like blogs, DIY project, how-to videos and or whatever seems to resonate with them. Content is a great way to start a conversation with this customer and allow them to connect with the brand.
- Customer Experience — Go through the entire process to uncover any disconnects in the ease of shopping for the customer and fix them. If something doesn’t load properly on your websites, or there are snags in the checkout process, the customer may abandon there.
- Welcome Programs — They have subscribed to your emails, they want to shop with you, so make these welcome emails easy by offering relevant products based on what they’ve been clicking on and viewing. Make it gentle and friendly — for example, LUSH ’s welcome email says “Welcome to LUSH Life. Your Inbox Smells Better Already,” immediately putting a smile on the customer’s face.
Finding unexpected ways to engage the browsing customer with the brand can encourage them to make their first purchase.
The Top Spender — How to Reward and Encourage This Customer
If top spenders generate the majority of revenue, identifying these people is essential to continuing to grow the business. Look to the data to find where this customer originally came from — and can that source generate more? What do they have in common with other top spenders? How can they be made happier? Loyalty programs are the key to retaining and encouraging customers to shop with you. In the jewelry industry, there are a few different ways to incorporate a fantastic loyalty program:
- Frequent Buyers — This is usually a points system based on dollars spent or a percentage back on all purchases.
- Tier the Rewards — Wanting to reward all customers is good, but ensuring the top spenders get a higher status or rewards is important to keep them happy and bragging to friends.
- Special Events — Host special events to share only with the top spenders; a time for them to see new product, get a styling tutorial, or mingle with celebs.
- Coupons or Discounts — Depending on your clientele, a birthday or anniversary coupon or discount can go a long way.
Remember, top spenders know they are a brand representative by the amount of your product they own, so treat them well, and they will continue to sing your praises — bringing more customers to your shop.
The Discount Shopper — How to Create Urgency with Limited Discounts and Coupons
Since this shopper is driven by the deal, finding ways to offer a deal, without being in a constant sale is the goal. In the email engagement, this shopper is a double edged sword — on one side, they respond to emails offering discounts and often spend. On the other side, will they ever become a top spender if they only respond to sales? For a retailer, being in a perpetual sale reduces the sense of urgency and often devalues the product or brand, so finding a balance here is vital. Here are some tips to capitalize on email messaging to the discount shopper:
- Promo Codes — Make sure to create a different code for each promotion or channel to see where they are coming from and use that data for future emails.
- Diversify the Sale — Change up the sale messaging and pricing structure to see if there are ways to engage this customer at a higher profit margin. Test out different promotions; percentage off, free shipping, specific product promotions or even spend more, save more.
- Offer Product Details — Highlight great product features and benefits along with customer testimonials to engage discount shoppers without offering a sale. Show them the value of the brand to elevate their shopping experience.
If this customer can be incentivized to spend heavily during sale periods, without offering a sale with every email, they have the potential to become a top spender, so focus on adding value to the product, spreading out the sale messaging to create urgency and offering rewards for full priced shopping to ease this customer into a more balanced shopper.
The Full Price Shopper — Where Did They Come From and Will They Shop Again?
When a customer buys full price on their first purchase, it is good to search the data to find where they came from, how often they browsed before purchasing, if they bought full price while there was a “selected styles” sale going on and if there are commonalities with other full price shoppers. They might have had a specific need regardless of price, or they might be shopping around a pay date schedule, or when they have resources.
In any case, the goal here is to have them make a second purchase and become a regular shopper. Much of retailer’s data is full of one purchase shoppers who never return to shop again and capturing a small percentage of them would be a great increase in revenue, so here are some ideas to entice them to shop again through emails.
- Second Purchase Program — Offering product highlights, blog posts, customer reviews and a small incentive to shop again will entice them to make a second purchase.
- Personalize It — Emails focusing on products they were browsing reminds them of what they liked, but be careful not to share too much information you know about them, as that will turn them away.
- Ask for a Review — Shoppers rely on reviews, so emailing with a request to write a review can encourage consumers to engage again.
First-time shoppers are a huge opportunity to create repeat business by using strategic emails to continue to engage them. When they buy full price first, understanding why they did gives you the ability to strategically tailor the subsequent emails to get that second purchase.
The Holiday Shopper — Can This Be a Repeat Buyer Only At Holidays or Is There More?
The holidays bring an entirely new element to jewelers — people shopping for gifts! These customers have never browsed your site before, they are not regular shoppers and often are not interested in jewelry for themselves. Can they become regular shoppers? Yes and no. They will not become a top spender, but they can absolutely become a repeat gift buyer if they have a positive experience the first time around. The email strategy with this customer is a bit different from the other segments because they shop infrequently.
- Periodic Emails — Be careful not to inundate them with too many emails, monthly would be the highest frequency to keep them aware of products and offerings.
- Gift-Focused Emails — Tailor these emails to tell a story about the wonderful gifts available and how other customers have had great results giving these gifts.
- Ask for a Review — Asking for reviews is a great way to engage this customer. Offering advice to fellow gift shoppers can add value to their buying experience and solidify you in their mind for future gifts.
The holidays are such a busy time for retailers, even more so for jewelers, and with so many messages going out to customers — it can be easy to forget this segment, but they are important. Focusing specific emails to these people will increase your bottom line, and has the potential to obtain a lifelong gift shopper.
Effective Email Strategies Require an Understanding of Customer Behavior
Identifying different types of shoppers and how to target them specifically through your email efforts is vital to generating revenue through those efforts, but truly understanding their behaviors will be enlightening! To find the information you need, data is the key. Find someone who understands how to read the data, where to find it and how to test for it. This person is not a marketer, per se, but an analyst who can sift through the data to find the specifics you are seeking to better understand your customer’s behaviors. With a solid handle on the data and what it’s saying about customer behavior, retailers can become much more strategic in their email campaigns and see happy returns to their bottom line.