This is a guest post from Niki Tibble at Expandly.
E-commerce is a competitive game. Amazon alone has an estimated five million sellers, making your conversion strategy crucial to your online success.
At Expandly, we work with online sellers of all shapes and sizes to improve their multi-channel conversion. Read on to learn some of the different ways that emails can boost your sales.
Back to basics: the importance of conversion rates
We all know that a conversion means a sale, which means that someone likes your products enough to make a purchase. But have you considered the further benefits that a successful conversion bring?
Return on investment
When a potential customer visits your online store, it’s cost you somewhere, somehow. Whether it was in PPC advertising, hosting costs, remarketing ads, or the time invested in improving your organic search placement, it’s cost you. A conversion returns that investment and increases your overall profits.
An online order doesn’t just mean a sale. It also means that someone is going to experience your customer journey (the one that you spend so long perfecting) in full, from “order received” to “how was it?” Not only do you get the chance to shine, but you also get the chance to win a positive customer review, which can then go on to increase your conversions even further.
Customer lifetime value
A conversion also enables you to increase another profitable statistic: customer lifetime value. You have a golden opportunity to impress that customer and compel them to come back again and spend more when they do,increasing your ROI.
Increasing conversion rates
Conversion rates matter, but you’re not the only online seller who knows this. In a bid to out-convert each other, many online sellers revert to price-cutting tactics: a dangerous road to a destination with no profit. Instead, you should be looking at different ways to convert potential customers, like emails.
Conversion-boosting emails – the types
There are plenty of emails you could bombard your customers with, but adopting a more strategic approach to your email campaigns produced better results for you and your customers. There are four main types of conversion-winning emails:
If someone visits your website and leaves without purchasing, you can follow up with a friendly email asking if something went wrong and remind them of what products they’re about to miss out on.
Why are cart abandonment emails good? Because these customers have already shown an interest; they’re already semi-engaged, and this email serves as a gentle push to and through the checkout, with minimal effort.
Tips: Avoid the hard-sell. Instead, show them what they were looking at, weave in some loss-aversion (“Only two left!”) and cross-sell (“These shoes go great with that dress you had your eye on.”). This should have your customers running for the checkout in no time.
Weekly or monthly, newsletters are a great way to engage with customers and potential customers who have shown an interest in your brand.
Why are they good? Newsletters are a great way to gift your potential customers with free and useful tips and tricks, news about your products, and stories about your brand, all while subtly promoting yourself and enticing readers to come and buy from you.
Tips: Make them visually appealing, include helpful non-sales information, and ensure that they encapsulate your brand.
Follow up any sale with a thank you and order confirmation, telling them everything they need to know about the next steps.
Why are they good? Even though the initial conversion has taken place, an outstanding post-conversion service looks good and increases the chances of a repeat conversion and positive customer review.
Tips: Less is more. Include useful information, such as tracking details, and pleasing information, such as discount coupons for future purchases. While adding some product recommendations can be helpful, don’t push too hard; they’ve just spent with you, so show your gratitude.
“We miss you” emails make your customer feel special, especially when a discount is included. And it’s a great excuse to email product recommendations.
Why are they good? They remind your customer (or potential customer) that you’re there waiting for them in a friendly way.
Source: Campaign Monitor
Tips: Include personalized recommendations to engage further and increase the chance of click and conversion by including discount codes and coupons. If they’ve been inactive for a long time, they’ll need some convincing to come back.
Conversion boosting emails – the tricks
Once they’ve opened your email, how do you get them to your website?
Your emails must look professional and smart while reflecting your brand. Stick to your brand colors and font, use striking visuals of your products, and don’t go too heavy on the amount of text. It’s also essential that you make any call to action clear and easy to click.
Source: Campaign Monitor
Top tip: Campaign Monitor’s selection of professionally designed email templates tick all the right boxes.
Personalization is crucial. Addressing your customer by name is not only engaging, but it’s also friendly, and personalized recommendations are much more likely to arouse interest and result in a click. Remember to correctly time your emails; sending a “please come back” email one hour after they purchased from you is going to feel both confusing and hounding. Keep track of where in the buyer journey your customers are and target them accordingly.
It’s also especially important to ensure that your emails are relevant. Sending someone who’s just been browsing cat toys an email about your latest dog food probably won’t go down too well, let alone result in a click. Collect data that enables you to send the right message to the right audience.
The most effective way to draw customers back to your e-commerce store will be an incentive, and this doesn’t necessarily have to involve a discount. While discount coupons work, you can also incentivize with free shipping, express shipping, free returns, outstanding customer reviews, and products that your customer will genuinely want to buy.
And it doesn’t stop at emails
A successful email campaign requires work beyond the send button. Specifically:
When a customer clicks on your email CTA, where do they land? Is your website fast, responsive, easy to navigate? Does your website have powerful branding? Or is it slow, messy, and difficult to find the “buy” button? Invest time, and, if necessary, money into making your website worthy of buying from.
They’ve clicked through but they have an Amazon voucher that they’d like to use or maybe they just trust eBay more. Selling on multiple sales channels increases your conversion rates by catering to your customer’s buying preferences, and it requires little additional effort with multi-channel e-commerce software.
Finally, if you want to maintain or improve your conversion rates, your customer service needs to be top notch. Use your new e-commerce software to ensure that you never upset anyone by overselling, that orders are quickly picked up and progressed (no matter what sales channel they’re through), and that all items are shipped quickly and updated with relevant tracking information.
E-commerce conversion rates are far more than just a sale under your belt. They affect your ROI, customer reviews, and customer lifetime value. Email campaigns provide the perfect opportunity to engage with your potential customers, and they should be coupled with the right website, sales channels, and customer service.
About the author
Expandly is a leading provider of multi-channel e-commerce software. Manage your listings, inventory, orders, and shipping, while automatically sending your sales orders to Xero, saving you time to concentrate on more important things, like emails.