Once the purchase is made, it’s time to start using email marketing to reassure the customer, build loyalty and the feel-good factor, and drive repeat purchases, through cross-sells, up-sells and referrals.
In our brand new edition of Hitting the Mark – dotMailer’s annual email marketing benchmark report – we assessed the email campaigns of 45 top-brand online retailers.
In a completely new section of the report, we wanted to know how many of the retailers we studied took their email engagement further, following an online purchase.
We wanted to know:
- How many used triggered emails following a purchase to reassure us and build Customer loyalty?
- How many kept us informed on the progress of our online order, through the use of
- And critically – how many sent a targeted, follow-up email marketing message within 4
weeks of our online purchase, based on the item we purchased? In fact – how many even
emailed us at all?
In this section of the report, the average score was a lowly 15 out of 26.
Ouch. This is where our high street retailers are really missing tricks. 15 of the retailers we purchased from didn’t invite us to sign up to their emails anywhere in the purchase or checkout process.
We were buying from them – we were hot prospects and ripe for them to sign up. A missed opportunity!
Retailers fared better when it came to sending order and despatch confirmations, scoring on
average 6 out of 8 in this section. However, we were amazed to receive neither an order or
despatch confirmation from 3 of the retailers we purchased from.
When it came to sending targeted email marketing messages based on what we had purchased, the results were very, very poor.
We allowed points for retailers who sent emails asking us how we had found the purchase experience and inviting product/service reviews and feedback, as these types of emails can be useful in a loyalty and retention strategy.
That retailer was Amazon.
Best practice guidelines
- Invite website users to sign up to your email marketing/e-newsletters while they are in the checkout process. Users are engaged with your site and your products at this point and likely to want to subscribe to future offers.
- Use the checkout process to incentive customers to sign up to your email marketing. Offer them loyalty points, discounts off future purchases or exclusive special offers or previews when they subscribe.
- Send a triggered order confirmation email immediately after an online purchase. This is expected behaviour and failure to do so may result in order cancellations.
- Send a triggered ‘item despatched’ email. Keeping customers informed on the status of their order helps to build trust, loyalty, recommendation and repeat purchase.
- Send targeted post-sale email marketing campaigns, based on the items a recipient ordered. Once you know what a customer has ordered, you have the chance to begin targeting offers that will help drive up-sell, cross-sell and repeat purchases. Don’t waste this chance.
- Use customer surveys as part of your post sale messages to collect valuable data on the customer experience and help build loyalty and trust.
Your Email Service Provider should enable you to import transactional data so you can segment post-purchase campaigns based on purchase activity and send different content to different groups of purchasers, e.g. male v female, clothing v household goods.
Look for an ESP that can also enable you to set up dynamic content based on your customers’
transactional data, and automatically target content and offers following purchases.