3 Reasons Marketers Should Continue to Allow Guests on Their Sites
For Nationwide Candy, getting helpful information from anonymous site visitors is like finding the prize in a box of Cracker Jack. In fact, sometimes the guests' product reviews are specifically about the molasses-coated popcorn and peanut treat.
"On product reviews, we've had people share stories," says Ken Hanson, general manager of the Albuquerque, N.M., wholesale candy and snack provider. "How they grew up with Cracker Jacks [sic] ... going to the game with their grandparents or whatever it might be. They can tell a real touching story. It reinforces with customers that it's a good product."
Those product reviews—good and bad—can come in anonymously, thanks to Needham, Mass.-based customer feedback and e-mail marketing firm RatePoint. RatePoint knows the reviewer's e-mail address, for instance. But Nationwide Candy may never know the person's identifying information. Still, many in the e-commerce space advise marketers to continue allowing visits from people they may never know by name. This may be difficult for marketers to hear, considering a report Forrester Research released in July, US Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2009 to 2014, reveals that interactive marketing—that is, actually having conversations with consumers—"will near $55 billion and represent 21 percent of all marketing spend in 2014."
Here's why many e-commerce professionals think it's so important to allow guests, instead of requiring site visitors to register or otherwise instantly volunteer data about themselves:
1. Allowing guests permits marketers to build a foundation of trust and steadily gain permission from visitors for further interaction. Plus, there are many ways to allow guests—from Nationwide Candy's experience of placing product reviews on its site to Columbus, Ohio-based Victoria's Secret's practice of accepting guest purchases. Sara Ezrin, senior strategy consultant for Experian CheetahMail of New York, says what she likes about Victoria's Secret's process is the company also provides guests with the opportunity to store their data, or register, toward the end of the purchase cycle. She also suggests that "pop-unders," or smaller Web pages that show up under viewed pages, also could ask for future contact when a visitor leaves a site.