Why Email Marketing is Still Important for Retail

Cover: Why Email Marketing is Still Important for Retail

Every retail company needs a website. It's no question younger generations prefer to shop online than going into a store if they can. These same customers also prefer to use email for marketing communications.

As old as it is, email is still the best way to communicate with customers in a professional way. Social media is the cool teen on the marketing block, but email is far more effective and cheaper. If you're struggling to figure out how to make email work for your retail business, here are some excellent strategies.

Flier Replacement

What if your business isn't designed for online sales? If you're sending out direct mail messages, you could save a lot of money on printing and postage by switching over to an email flier instead.

Another advantage of using emails instead of paper for advertising is that customer behavior is much easier to track. You can see who opened your email, how long they read it, and whether they clicked on any of the links inside. All of these are impossible to do with traditional fliers. This can help you see just how well your advertisements work at bringing people into your store.

Email Automation

The heart of all email marketing strategies is email automation. Email automation uses follow-up tools to trigger email releases when certain things happen. For instance, emails could be scheduled to go out at a particular time or when a certain activity happens.

One easy strategy you can use to get started with email automation is to send an email when a customer abandons his or her online shopping cart. This is a huge problem in e-commerce. Shopping cart abandonment rates have hovered near 70 percent for years, which means vast amounts of revenue are lost right at the point of conversion.

You can send an email that shows the items left in the cart and their price to entice the reader back to complete the sale. Some retailers also add in a small discount, perhaps free shipping, to lure the reader back to finish the purchase.

These transactional emails are some of the most powerful emails you can send because you're meeting the shopper soon after they've completed an action. For instance, they might have viewed a sales page and then left it, or perhaps they haven't visited your site in some time. It's almost like having a salesperson on call to talk with your shoppers.

Going Green And Getting Information

What do you do if you're new to email marketing and need to build a list of customer emails? One way is to give customers the option to receive email receipts. This is a common tactic to get customers to turn over their email address and consent to further marketing messages.

Why are email receipts so popular? One reason is that it's a good way to make your business greener. While there will always be some people who want a paper receipt, giving people the option for an email receipt gives them the opportunity to feel good about saving a bit of paper. It's also easier to tuck an email receipt somewhere for later than it is to keep a shoebox full of them for tax time.

In return, you get the two most vital pieces of information needed to leverage email marketing, an email address and consent from the giver to receive marketing messages. You need to get this consent so your business follows laws about sending commercial messages to people. These laws are a big reason email marketing is so trusted.

There was a time when commercial emails were all spam messages, but now email is the most acceptable place to receive marketing messages from businesses. If your retail business is not using email marketing yet, consider starting a campaign this year. I think you'll be surprised at how effective it is for generating revenue.

About the writer: Michael Habiger is an experienced content writer and marketer with six years of experience. Michael is currently a senior marketing specialist at FollowUpFred.

Join the #retail, #ConnectedJourney and #SmartStore conversations on Twitter at @RetailNext, as well as at www.facebook.com/retailnext.

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Michael Habiger, FollowUpFred

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