How Retailers Can Use E-mail to Find and Retain Customers
According to a recent survey from Forrester Research, 77 percent of consumers said they receive e-mail from at least one retail company. With the industry so immersed in the channel — on average, the retailers surveyed have been sending e-mail for seven years — it's easy to see how a company's e-mail can get lost in the crowd. To succeed in today's e-mail marketing environment, you need to retain the customers you already have while differentiating yourself from your competition to recruit new ones.
Consumers continue to respond to e-mail with purchases driven by the channel. According to the Forrester survey, many consumers are willing to accept even more e-mail: 23 percent of the consumers who already receive retail e-mails said they'd be willing to accept more. Knowing this information, here are three tips a Forrester whitepaper that featured the survey results provides to help you grab your piece of this growing marketplace.
1. Improve your preference center to understand why customers subscribe. Ask questions in your preference center to guide e-mail program design. Consumers tend to segment into two groups: those who want discounts and those who value new product information. Tailor your e-mails to these groups with the same information for each, but with different emphasis. Use sales for the subject lines and top portions of messages for the first group, and new product information in those places for the second group.
2. Promote e-mail discounts beyond the e-mail channel. Streamline consumer interaction, and make it known why consumers should sign up for e-mails in catalogs, stores and online checkout. Make it easy for consumers to sign up on the spot in your stores and checkout page.
3. Encourage persuaders to drive word-of-mouth. Tap influential consumers to propagate your messages from e-mail to the other channels they use, the whitepaper advises. Personal recommendations tend to hold more value for consumers than corporate messages.
Why consumers subscribe
Retailers need to get smarter at initial e-mail sign-up about why consumers really subscribe, the whitepaper says. Do more than capture contact information, location and product preference. The whitepaper lists the most likely reasons subscribers sign up for your e-mail program:
- Discounts. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they sign up for e-mail to receive discounts on products they want. Your job is to determine whether all subscribers want to hear about all discounts or only those most pertinent to their interests.
- Sales. Forty-nine percent of survey respondents said they sign up for e-mail to learn about company sales. Don't just let subscribers know when sales are, but also what products are to be marked down.
- Affinity. Fifty percent of respondents sign up because they like the company or brand. Capture these subscribers’ ZIP codes because they'll want to know about in-store events.