In the past few years, the weeks preceding Black Friday have been a mad rush to one of the most pivotal days in a retail marketer’s calendar. As far as the headlines are concerned, shoppers are desperate for bargains and brands across the country are ready-in-waiting to give them what they want.
However, 2016 marks a change from the norm. Plenty of the regular commentators have shifted focus to look at the rising hesitancy of Black Friday shoppers, suggesting the days of ‘impulse buying’ may be numbered. Research released by Retail Economics highlights the vast majority of shoppers (74%) expect to spend less on Black Friday than last year.
But for businesses that depend on the Black Friday boost, how can small purchases made on the day be nurtured into continued brand loyalty in the run-up to Christmas?
The answer is centred on transactional engagement. The messages we receive from retailers as order confirmations and delivery notifications are prime real estate for cross and upsell opportunities. Useful and expected, they’re a brilliant way to reach customers because they are triggered based on our actions and as such are far more likely to gain and hold our attention. In fact, research conducted by Mailjet earlier this year revealed that these messages create a 25% better engagement rate than regular marketing communications.
Missing a trick
However, almost 60% of business owners admit they either know they aren’t generating revenue from transactional communications, or have no idea if they are or not.
The lack of communication between marketers and the technical teams in charge of distribution has driven this detached approach to transactional emails. To date, transactional emails have been sent out via an organisation’s CMS, which means sidestepping the marketing team entirely. In fact, as 38% of marketers admit they are not generating revenue from transactional emails, it is clear that many companies are still not exploiting this marketing channel.
With the pressure around Black Friday to drive revenues and growing apathy among consumers for the day itself, these automated emails should not be overlooked, but used as a way to drive increased consumer engagement, chance of return purchase and brand advocacy.
It's not all about ‘on the day’ sales
Transactional messages are a fantastic source of data. For example, it is entirely possible to use retargeting if, when shopping, the consumer adds two products to their basket but only actually purchases one of them. The purchase confirmation email thus becomes an opportunity to talk to them about the second product.
Beyond the sale though, this enhanced sight of how effective key messages are can help keep users engaged and active. Informed by what works, brands can check in with users who have been inactive, or haven’t opened or clicked an email in the past few months. This doesn’t mean they’re no longer interested, they might just need a prompt to remind them to revisit your site.
Order confirmations and delivery notifications also give organisations the chance to reduce the number of customer service contacts made by clients and demonstrate a flawless service from start to finish. If your service and communications offer a smooth, intuitive and easy user experience, you are more likely to retain and impress your customers.
Adding social media buttons which encourage liking content or following your online channels, or simply informing users about your current promotions to increase sales. Also, marketers should include asking for user generated content in post-order emails. Customers should be encouraged to share a post on the social channel of their choice about the product they have brought. It’s a great way to engage customers and drive loyalty and could also drive after-the-day sales. Regardless of the specific call to action you choose to use in your emails, remember to always be clear about what you’re offering and give users an incentive to take action.
It is important to remember that every contact with your consumers offers an opportunity to strengthen your brand image. Transactional emails are a great way to make your mark. Think of them as a communication channel that needs to reflect your brand and the value you offer - transactional emails should correspond with your brand identity.
Rather than going with a simple, text-only layout, consider teaming up with your designer to create a visually appealing template. Spice up your email layout with visuals and make your messaging more powerful. Add images, logos and colours to your email that complement your overall visual identity.
By ensuring that your brand identity and corporate style are always represented and that email marketing efforts are integrated across the entire sales cycle, marketers can improve interaction with customers to generate further engagement and sales in the run-up to Christmas.
By Josie Scotchmer, UK marketing manager at Mailjet
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