4 tips and an action plan
Online shops are doing great. Established web shops report ever increasing revenues and new ones open their virtual doors every day. The consumer has definitely embraced the concept of shopping online. So, has online selling reached its apex?
not quite yet!
Because of the rapid expansion, competition is also growing. And as a result, profit margins are shrinking. Online retailers need to stay up to date with their technology. Making sure their emails and websites are designed to look good on any device, for instance. Responsive, fluid or adaptive design is the norm. They also are expected to excel at logistics (next day, or even better, same day delivery) and provide great customer experience.
Unfortunately, many web shops are sticking to ingrained habits while trying to find and retain customers. These habits are preventing them from making their business future-proof. Because, in business, stagnation equals regression, we have the following recommendations for online retailers who do not want to fall behind:
TIP 1. You do not need comprehensive personal data
When ordering from a webshop, the customer is routinely asked to register an account and create a profile with lots of personal data such as name, address, gender, date of birth and phone number before he is ‘allowed’ to proceed to the checkout. Even if registration is not compulsory, all these data must often be submitted. This increases the risk of annoyed customers (‘I don’t want to give out my phone number, and why do they need to know my birthday?”) and abandoned shopping carts.
Think about it: why would a web shop even need to know where the customer lives? The only information absolutely required is the delivery address. Delivering to a pick-up point (whether for regular mail or a courier service like DHL or UPS) is cheaper and more convenient than home delivery. No more parcels left with the neighbours, or second deliveries to worry about. These are good arguments to actively encourage customers to opt for delivery to a service point.
* Bonus tip: make sure your pick-up point is open outside of office hours, in a supermarket for instance. Great service for working people!
“But …we need these data to ensure delivery!” We hear you say. Actually, no. Letters and packages will delivered correctly, as long as the delivery address is correct. Keep the ordering process short and simple. Something like this: Choose your article; pay here; tell us where you want it delivered. Offer your customers the option to create a profile, but don’t make it mandatory. To confirm a purchase, send delivery information and ask for feedback, all you need is a valid email address. You should, of course, always include an opt-in for a newsletter or offers by email somewhere during the process.
TIP 2. Profiles have a limited shelf life/are worthless
In a family, an account for a web shop can be shared. Because there is one person who will pay the bill, and because it’s convenient: on a shared computer with a browser that stores the password, the next purchase is only one click away. Within a family, there can be lots of different interests. But, although each member looks at different articles in the shop, They only get emails offering great deals on PC’s, games and flat screen tv’s … because the account was registered by an adult male, and that’s the profile.
Profile information is never static, even for one person. It changes with the passing of time. Moving house, getting married, children growing up and other changing circumstances all influence preferences. Over time, profile information should be supplemented with search and purchase information, contact points and social media activity. If a shop sends an offer based solely on a customer profile, this needs to be up to date and enriched with extra information, otherwise, there is a good chance the offer will no longer be relevant.
TIP 3. Go for personalised content
Let’s say: a family is looking to buy a new hairdryer and iron. Researching online, reading tests and reviews, comparing prices, Results in banners popping up on other sites they visit. This is good remarketing practice, of course.
Unfortunately their next regular newsletter (addressed to ‘Dear Mr. X’) once again offers only laptops, the latest games and TVs. How about sending an email based on their recent search for hairdryers and irons? Wouldn’t it be great if the shop offered them relevant content, based on what they are actually looking for?
* Bonus tip: you can skip the individual salutation, personalised content is what impresses.
TIP 4. Don’t send behind-the-times emails
While it’s a good idea to send me emails based on recent searches on your website, don’t wait too long. Instead of clinging to the regular newsletter schedule, send a mail with relevant content immediately after the visit.
* Bonus tip: To impress your customer even more, make sure your next newsletter also contains personalised content: related (not identical) articles, based on search history.
Start future-proofing your webshop now!
Marketing automation can help you to automate many of the aforementioned processes, this saves time and effort, so you can concentrate on meaningful content and better communication with your customers.
Step 1: Take plenty of time to plan your next steps
This is the most important step. Do not rush, get as much information as you can. Choose the marketing solution that is the perfect fit for you and your company. This does not always mean the most elaborate and expensive one!
Step 2: perform an A/B test
A= mail based on customer profiles
B= mail based on search and purchase data
step 3: experiment with send times
Stop thinking in large campaigns and set send times. Get more out of client interactions. Sending individual, personalised emails right after a website visit is much easier than organising large campaigns for multiple target audiences.
step 4: base content on specific contact points
Whether this is a repeat purchase, a product review, a complaint or a repair. Try to be as relevant as possible in every interaction with your customers.
Would you like to learn more about our Marketing Automation solutions, or would you like a demo (free of obligation)? Contact us!
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