Win repeat customers, start by collecting emails at point of sale
How can you tell if you win repeat customers? You’ll certainly be measuring the volume of your sales but what about who is actually making those sales?
Email and online retail are inextricably linked. There needs to be a way of logging orders and providing progress updates, and simply providing unique identifiers (like tracking codes) isn’t enough — they’re too easily lost. That’s why every online store requires a buyer to create a user account with an attached email address.
The same can’t be said of email and offline retail, obviously: the buying process is generally much simpler (pay for your shopping and leave), and you get a physical receipt to cover you if you need to return something. Email rarely enters into the equation — but it certainly should.
Whether they operate online as well, or stick to the classic brick-and-mortar model, retailers who sell offline should make a habit of collecting customers’ email addresses. It can really help with driving customer loyalty.
Here are 5 reasons why:
Use email marketing to thank customers
Everyone knows that first impressions are vitally important, but this wisdom can mistakenly be deployed too narrowly. When you make a sale to a first-time customer, their first impression of you encompasses the entirety of their buying experience: everything from their first glimpse of your store (whether physical or digital) to the ebb of the post-purchase buzz.
If you get a customer’s email address at the point of sale, you can send them a thank-you email at a suitable time. You can confirm the purchase, and perhaps let them know how much their custom matters. It’s a nice touch that they’ll likely appreciate, and leaving them with a positive impression of your business is a powerful way to push them to buy from you again.
Use email marketing to provide incentives
Discounts and rapid-fire deals might be huge online, but they’re just as viable in offline retail. There are lots of examples of loyalty programs you can use for inspiration. For example, Starbucks now run theirs through mobile apps instead of classic punch cards — showing that even a modest incentive can hugely increase the chance of a former customer returning for repeat business.
By email, you can provide a voucher or code that the customer can print out, or notify them about something that could save them money (such as reduced rates during particular hours, or some kind of in-store system for getting a percentage-based reduction if you can prove that you’ve bought from there before).
Use email marketing to market new products
People who’ve bought from you before but aren’t buying from you now don’t necessarily dislike you. They may well think you’re the best retailer of your kind, but simply not have anything they need to buy from you.
In our experience over 80% of e-commerce customers only ever purchase once. That’s a huge number and the main reason is they aren’t targeted as a marketing audience. The screenshot below is a typical scenario.
The lack of new repeat customers is why you need to focus on this audience. Keep marketing new additions to your product lineup and email marketing is perfect for that.
Collecting someone’s email address means that you can tie their purchases to it, helping you understand what they’re looking for. That allows you to create a loyalty programme without the points, and it’s one of the reasons we built Websand, to make the process of managing and segmenting your customer data as easy as possible. When your data is managed, email marketing becomes so much easier. Making it easier to offer products they’ll actually be interested in, making your email marketing more effective and efficient. It also makes the recipient feel that they’re getting a unique marketing experience.
Use email marketing to offer valuable content
Content marketing is a huge part of the digital marketing world, with most businesses (retail or otherwise) investing a lot of time and money into the creation of high-value content. It’s all about building up your brand and ensuring that people remember you. Even if they’re not interested in buying (yet). You want them to consider your business when they do want to buy.
You can create a blog on your retail site. Of course, and try to promote it through social media and general SEO. But don’t be afraid to share that content directly to relevant prospects through email. They’ve already shared their information. So you know they’re far more likely than most people to be interested in what you have to say. And if your content offers the reader value, they’ll want to reciprocate.
Use email marketing to gather customer feedback
Once you’ve built up a solid mailing list comprising your customers, use it to gather invaluable feedback about your customer experience. How do people see your prices? Do your products stand up to scrutiny? How does your customer service hold up, particularly under pressure?
The more you learn about how well you’re doing, the more easily you can identify potential improvements. Maybe you could be less pushy early on, or make your checkout process somewhat faster. You should always be using feedback to improve your business. A great experience means it’s more likely your customers will be to return (even those who don’t provide their email).
Use email to win repeat customers
Even though email has been around forever, it remains an integral part of the marketing world. Even for retailers with an offline focus. If you run a retail business, then make the collection of email addresses a priority. Remember to collect consent correctly, and to explain the benefits to your customers: otherwise, they’ll worry about their data being misused.
Do you want to get the best from your email marketing and drive new business from repeat customers? We can help, better results from email are a simple phone call away, simply click here and schedule a call. We are standing by.
Image credit: Needpix
Special thanks to Kayleigh Alexandra from microstartups.org for collaborating on this post.
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