The rise of personal computers combined with Internet has changed the landscape of consumerism is a way that has simply never been seen before. Prior to this, the history of capitalism was pretty straightforward, and, in many ways, it was blunt. There was demand, there was supply, and the suppliers rushed to fill the demand. If someone did it better, the demand shifted over to the new supplier.
In the 21st century, this is still roughly true, but it’s the definition of “better” that has radically changed. Standardization has made mass consumer retail products largely identical, so rather than a single product being available in only one store, or one chain of stores, it can be found in many. This means that in order to differentiate themselves, retailers have had to concentrate on other areas in order to prove themselves more attractive to shoppers. 20 years ago, the only ways to do this were pricing and customer service.
Today, these factors still matter, but the customer service has taken on a new importance in the form of behavior based email marketing. For retailers, the cycle of a potential consumer becoming a full customer is just the start of the journey. The completion is in turning that customer into a valued, returning customer. Behavior based email marketing plays a role in that. Here are the five secrets that any discerning retailer should be looking at if they want to ensure a customer’s journey is completed to a fruitful conclusion.
Making The Shopping Experience Attractive
Whether it is a physical storefront, or an online portal, that first impression is going to count, so it’s important to make sure it’s a good one. If you have a digital portal/storefront, it is absolutely critical that the website is clean, attractive, and easy to read. Clutter and complex interfaces are the only excuses a potential shopper needs to decide that the online experience you are providing is not for them, and they’ll simply look elsewhere in the future.
When it comes to shopping, appearances count. Good prices and good customer service are important, but these factors need to complement a fun, engaging shopping experience. Don’t inundate your shoppers with too much information, or clutter their screens with buttons and features that ask them to do more work.
Make The Purchase Easy
When it finally comes time to check out and make a purchase this is where you have to ensure the purchasing process is as painless and convenient as possible. ID verification and online security are all well understood parts of the process for a first time purchase, but it is vital that you don’t go overboard, and, perhaps more importantly, ensure that when they return, the purchasing process will be much easier.
It’s not such a hard thing to understand. When someone is interested in buying your product, they want to give you the money as quickly as possible and move on to something else. Don’t get in the way of this process. People have long memories when it comes to clunky or demanding payment processes. The last thing you want to do is have their parting memory of their shopping experience clouded with how difficult it was to pay for the item they wanted, and how many hoops they had to jump through to do it.
Thank Them For Their Patronage
If you appreciate the support of a new customer, make sure they know it. This is the start of your behavior based email marketing effort. By ensuring that a customer’s contribution is remembered, appreciated and acknowledged, you have already taken a step forward from many services that don’t bother to recognize the efforts of the people that engage their services.
A follow up email that makes note of their purchase ensures that a customer knows they are being treated as an individual. You’re not just sending a generic “thank you,” but showing an awareness of what they came to you for, and ultimately left with. Ensure that this is merely the start of a continuing relationship encouraging them to revisit, and telling them that their patronage and preferences will be remembered so that you can direct items of specific interest to them.
Now you should be looking at a concerted effort to direct behavior based email marketing to turn a one-time visit into a repeat. With the right software, you know what shoppers were looking at what, not just what they bought. You can use that to build up a profile and to follow up on the purchase by keeping customers informed about the products they viewed, or others like them.
This is especially important in the event of price drops, sales, and other promotional activities you may be conducting. The only thing a shopper likes more than being shown items they are interested in is items that are available at special lower prices. Behavior based email marketing ensures that whatever areas they’ve shown interest in, your software will keep them informed, engaged, and more likely to return.
Engage & Remind
If a shopper has bought a consumable item of some kind, whether it’s hair care products or pet food, be proactive about letting your software remind shoppers to stock up in these items. People appreciate being notified when products they regularly use may need replenishment, and if you can tie these in with promotions, it will be even more effective.
Let your behavior based email marketing also keep track of those “near misses.” If a customer got as far as putting a product in a shopping cart, but ended up not completing the purchase, there could be any number of reasons why the transaction wasn’t completed. It might simply be an impulse buy that was eventually stopped as more self-control asserted itself, or it might have been a realization that a self-imposed budget was about to be broken. But that doesn’t mean the purchase will never go through.
Remind shoppers of the things they like or want, especially if these items are subject to a special promotion. And in that general regard, always keep shoppers informed of sales, especially where relevant to their items of interest.
By undertaking these five simple steps you can take a customer on a journey that eventually ends with them becoming a regular visitor to your store. All it takes is a little diligence.