Catalog and Direct Selling: Evaluate Your E-mail
If you find through analysis that click-through rates are high but order rates are low, it could be an indication that what you’re presenting in the e-mail and what you’re showing online aren’t, um, “clicking.” If you present a product or special offer, make sure the live links in the e-mail take customers directly to it. If you have customers clicking an e-mail that leaves them lost on your site, or lingering at the home page, session-abandon rates will rise, and sales won’t come.
As with mailed catalogs, average order value (AOV) also is an important metric to evaluate with e-mail campaigns. Most catalogers find that online AOV generally is lower than phone, fax or mail. Several theories exist to explain the difference:
• People pinpoint things they want via the Web, but don’t necessarily buy them online.
• Many typically shop sale items online.
• Online shoppers are inclined to make more frequent low-ticket purchases than other channel shoppers.
Whatever the reason, evaluating fluctuations in AOV are important when measuring e-mail campaign successes. What happens to AOV when specific types of offers are presented? What can be done to manipulate AOV—special bundles, offers with purchase thresholds? Do customers primarily shop certain product categories (e.g., low-end) when they respond to e-mail? Are you setting up the e-mails to encourage that type of response?
Sales per e-mail delivered is the combination metric for order rate and average order value. Simply calculated as sales divided by quantity delivered, this metric is used for comparison to your break-even benchmark. E-mail campaigns have a much lower success threshold—you don’t need nearly the response to pay for an e-mail campaign as you would a catalog mailing. But you should have key requirements for return on investment and breakeven.
Additionally, look at the impact that e-mail campaigns have on your other marketing communications. Does a frequent e-mail program negatively affect catalog sales? You must measure the overall impact of all customer communications, and the sales and costs associated with them to determine the overall profitability of your integrated communication plan.